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BBB seeing rise in pet scams during the pandemic

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Avoiding Online Pet Scams
Posted at 8:31 AM, Sep 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-11 10:31:30-04

BOISE, Idaho — Right now, with more people staying home, there has been a major increase in animal adoptions. But beware if you are searching online for that perfect pet.

The Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker has received more than 2,100 reports of pet scams in the last few months. That is up 700 for the same period this time last year.

BBB says scammers have been using fake websites using photos of real pets. But unfortunately, those pets are not available for adoption. So if you do turn to the internet to find a new furry family member, remember these tips.

"Be aware of those sponsored ads when you're searching for a pet online," said Rebecca Barr of the BBB. "Make sure you're not buying the pet before seeing it, so make sure you're seeing it in person. If for some reason you can't, try FaceTime. You also want to see if these dog images are appearing on other websites so you can do a reverse Google image search for these puppy photos and make sure they're not also popping up on these other websites. It's very easy for a con artist to put up a website with these photos on it, take it down the next day, put up a new website with the same photos."

Barr says you should also avoid wiring money or using a cash app or gift card since there is no way to trace their use or get your money back. She also suggests heading to your local animal shelter to see if you can find a perfect pet match in person.