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2024 Pet Scams | How to Spot and Avoid Easily

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2024 Pet Scams | How to Spot and Avoid Easily

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Since the onset of the pandemic, online pet sales have surged impressively, creating a breeding ground for crafty scammers to trick unsuspecting pet lovers.

If you are longing for a furry friend and considering buying/ adopting one online, this guide is especially for you. It aims to help potential pet parents navigate the tricky waters of online pet scams, providing useful tips to identify and avoid fraudulent deals. Read on! 🐶🐱

Red flags need to be aware of

While fraudsters constantly innovate their strategies some recurring patterns can serve as tell-tale signs:

🚩 Inexplicably low prices for high-end breeds.
🚩 Pets with extremely heart-wrenching backstory.
🚩 Sellers who refuse or avoid meeting in person before transactions.
🚩 Payments restricted to mobile apps or gift cards.
🚩 Free pets but charging expensive shipping fees.
🚩 Phony charges under the pretext of shipment preparations.
🚩 Sellers with professional profiles but unofficial email addresses.

If you notice the above red flags, the methods in the following may assist you in determining if you encountered a pet scam.

🚨 Facts about pet frauds: most of the victims of pet scams are in their 20s and 30s, losing between $100 and $1000 to thieves. (source)

How to identify pet scams

1/ Face-to-face meetup

The most important rule is to meet the pet or breeder in person to ensure that the pet is real. If the breeder refuses your requests for questionable reasons, then you can employ the following tricks to check their credibility.

2/ Run a background check

People often find adorable pets available for adoption on websites or social media platforms. The posters typically leave their contacts for those who are interested.

Whether it be phone numbers or email addresses, you can utilize this little piece of info to run a background check and assess the breeder’s credibility.

To conduct a background search on the breeder, you can try professional people search sites like TruthFinder. These efficient tools retrieve available public record information of various kinds about individuals, including criminal and traffic records.

In-depth records on finance & delinquency

Dark web scan

Accurate match

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If you have the breeder’s email address, you can also perform a reverse email lookup with BeenVerified. With a few clicks, this tool can comb through billions of public records and find the person along with the information behind an email address.

Most various search methods under one subscription

Billions of records from leading sources

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Reverse phone number lookup is also a handy way to dig up the breeder’s available public record info. Even if it’s a VoIP #, an advanced phone number lookup engine can still search public record sources to find information on the possible owner.

Detailed financial & criminal records

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3/ Reverse the pet’s images

Pet scammers often use internet images to lure their victims. To verify the authenticity of a pet, you can search the picture with reverse image search services such as Social Catfishor TinEye to trace the online presence of the picture.

4/ Research the pet prices

If you have an idea of how much it may cost to buy, vaccinate, or deliver a specific kind of pet you’re interested in, it may help to alert you when the breeder is offering a very discounted price or asking for a price that doesn’t make sense.

5/ Be careful of your payment method

Avoid wire transfer methods like using cash apps, Bitcoin payment apps, or gift cards. Money sent in these ways is hard to track, and thieves can easily get away with it once they’ve received your money.

6/ Check the pet scammer list

The petscams.com is a website that informs people about puppy scams and collects complaints from victims. It also has an up-to-date pet scammer list for people to check. So you can just browse this site before making a decision.

How to report pet scams

Image by Freepik

In addition to recognizing and evading pet scams, it is crucial to report such scams to assist others.

If you have been a victim of a scam or encountered suspected pet thieves, below are different ways to report it:

BBB Scam TrackerReport or search frauds using this tool. Verified reports will be shared with authorities to shut down scammers.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Answer a couple of questions and submit a form with scam details to help prevent pet scams.
IPATAThe International Pet and Animal Transportation Association also allows you to report or search for scams.
Petscams.comVisit the website and fill out a form, which helps the site update its list and information.

🔔 Emerging pet scams to watch for

  • Lost pet scam:
    Scammers pretend to have found a lost pet and collect rewards or ask for delivery fees from the supposed owners before disappearing.
  • Adoption frauds:
    Scammers deceive adopters by claiming to be shelters or rescue groups, taking adoption fees without providing pets. They may even claim the pets are from abroad.
  • Free pet scam:
    Scammers advertise free pets with poor stories to attract interest, then hit victims with a series of fees for vaccinations, registrations, and shipping costs before running off with the money.
  • Fake official site frauds:
    Imposter websites imitating legitimate breeder associations or clubs collect membership or registration fees and share fake credential documents.

The Bottom line

Bringing a new, beloved puppy or kitten into the family can be exciting. But the first step to selecting and buying a pet online requires your vigilance.

Always remember to research sellers thoroughly, watch for red flags, insist on in-person meetings, and trust your instincts. With smart precautions, you can avoid falling victim and successfully welcome home your perfect pet.

Featured photo by Mikhail Vasilyev on Unsplash
*All product names, logos, brands, trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

exclamation-blueThere’s no guarantee you’ll find the information you’re looking for with the tools discussed in this article. They all source their information from publicly available data sources, such as county, state and federal courts, government departments, and police records, and those sources may contain incorrect or incomplete data. It’s illegal to use these tools to make decisions about employment, admission, consumer credit, insurance, tenant screening, or any other purpose that would require FCRA compliance. Read the Fair Credit Reporting Act to learn more....

About this article

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Evie Gan

Writer

Evie is a tech-writer and content writer passionate about exploring new concepts and technologies. Her articles for Super Easy cover a wide range of topics related to tech and daily life hacks.

Prior to joining Super Easy, Evie majored in English for science and technology at university. After graduation, she worked in foreign trade sales for a major household appliance company where she gained first-hand experience learning about manufacturing engineering, evaluating products, and interacting daily with staff about the latest tech.

In her free time, Evie enjoys drawing, traveling, basketball, Pilates, music, playing guitar, and learning new languages (Japanese at JLPT N2 level).

As a content writer, she leverages her diverse interests and web research skills to create articles that benefit readers. By sharing technology tips and how-to guides, Evie helps people improve their daily routines and get the most out of their devices.

Her goal is to use her knowledge and experience to craft informative, engaging content for the Super Easy audience.

About this article

round-success 43 Revisions

file-success Reviewed by BeenVerified

Evie Gan

Writer

Evie is a tech-writer and content writer passionate about exploring new concepts and technologies. Her articles for Super Easy cover a wide range of topics related to tech and daily life hacks. Prior to joining Super Easy, Evie majored in English for science and technology at university. After graduation, she worked in foreign trade sales for a major household appliance company where she gained first-hand experien [...]

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