Introduction to Pet Scams:
It is no new fact that having pets has significantly reduced the stress levels in many people. Be it a hamster or a dog, pets surely have a way to cheer up their owners. Owing to the pandemic, reports suggested that a significant number of people felt lonely after being reduced to the four walls of their houses. To curb the lonely experience in times like this, they resorted to other ways such as looking to buy a pet online. However, this led to a whole new industry for the opportunistic scammers to take advantage of. Read on to know how pet scams have become an inevitable part of the pandemic and how you can avoid them.
How do they work?
Even though pet scams have been in the market for a long time, there has been a significant increase with the shift of our lives into the online world. Pet scammers will put up fake advertisements for their non-existent pets finding a home in the newspapers, through unsolicited emails, and online ads. When a customer clicks on these advertisements and gets redirected to the website, they are treated to a website full of pictures and details of adorable puppies, kittens, and other varieties of pets. In the first stage of the pet scams, the scammer will seek to build your trust through scripted messages and fake assurances of the pet being perfectly healthy and fit when in reality the pet does not even exist. To make this a little more believable, these scammers will send stolen videos of pets from legitimate pet breeders and send them to you in an attempt to build an emotional attachment with the pet. The scammer then proceeds to ask for an initial payment in the name of certain documents that need to be signed or a health check-up for the pet. This form of payment will usually be asked in a non-refundable method to ensure that the customer cannot file for a return. Another red flag to look out for is the scammer would not let you meet the pet physically before purchasing.
The second form of payment will be asked for shipping purposes. The scammers will claim that they are providing the pet with a cargo crate that has temperature control quality to ensure that the pets are safe and healthy when they reach you. However, you must know that the airplanes already have an apt pressure and temperature in the cargo area and this is just the scammer lying. These scams usually happen cross country in order to attack unsuspecting customers and not letting them meet the pets before giving them money.
These scams usually come to an end when the scammer runs out of reasons to extract money or when the victim realizes that they have been scammed.
How to avoid pet scams?
- Adopt a pet from the shelter instead of buying from a shop.
- Ensuring a physical meeting with the pet can help avoid scams.
- Contact rescue groups before settling for a breeder you met online.
- Expect the breeders to ask you questions regarding the pet’s well-being.
Some of the pet scammers we found online: