BBB: Looking for a pet? Don't fall for puppy scams
9:27 AM, Mar 20, 2017
If you are considering adding a pet to your family, Better Business Bureau warns of puppy scams.
BBB's Emily Valla says so far in 2017 BBB has received reports of $9,000 lost to pet scams in the Northwest region alone.
"One woman told her story on BBB’s Scam Tracker. She thought she was adopting a purebred puppy from an online website. She was directed to pay using MoneyGram, which she did, and then she got a text saying the dog was being taken to the shipping company," Valla said.
"Next, she got an email from a company claiming to be Sky-Pet Movers stating a special climate controlled crate was required and she could purchase one for over $2,000 or rent one for $1,600 or so. Again, the payment was to be made by MoneyGram. When she started to ask more questions and flight numbers, the “breeder” disappeared. It’s a classic version of the puppy scam; the requests for money just keep coming," Valla continued.
If you are looking for a specific dog online, BBB recommends digging deep to research it online.
"Don’t just skim it on the website. Research for identical wording and photos online by copying and pasting a line from the website or email into a search engine. It’s probably a scam if several sentences and pictures appear on other sites. Research if a business is trustworthy at www.bbb.org," Valla said.
BBB also recommends doing as much in person as possible. Visit the breeder and pick up your pet directly. Make sure the animal is as happy and healthy as you expect.
If you have found the pet online, BBB says ask for real and personalized photos before you make the trip or pay money. Also, never send money via wire transfer or prepaid card.
And always consider adopting, not shopping. Adopting from a local shelter can be a less expensive choice and allows for interaction with the pet before bringing it home.