Pet scams are on the rise again
As more people are spending time online due to the pandemic, pet scams have surged, leading to many unsuspecting victims losing their money. According to the Better Business Bureau, pet scams have spiked since the beginning of the pandemic, with consumers reporting a 39% increase in such scams.
How Pet Scams Work
Pet scams involve criminals setting up fake websites and social media accounts, often claiming to be legitimate pet sellers or breeders. They offer to sell puppies or kittens at a much lower price than usual, which can be very tempting for many people. They may also claim that the pets are in high demand and need to be sold quickly.
To make the deal seem more legitimate, they may ask for payment through wire transfer or gift cards, which are harder to trace than credit card payments. After the payment is made, the scammers often disappear, and the victim is left with no pet and no way to get their money back.
How to Avoid Pet Scams
There are several ways to avoid pet scams. First, it’s essential to do your research and only buy pets from reputable breeders or sellers. If you’re not sure, ask for recommendations from friends or family who have purchased pets before. You can also check the seller’s reputation online by looking for reviews or complaints from other customers.
Second, avoid buying pets from websites or social media accounts that don’t have a physical address or contact information. Legitimate sellers will have a physical location and will be happy to provide you with their contact information.
Third, never send payment through wire transfer or gift cards. Use a credit card or another payment method that can be traced if there’s a problem with the transaction.
What to Do if You’ve Been Scammed
If you’ve fallen victim to a pet scam, there are several steps you can take. First, contact your bank or credit card company and report the fraudulent transaction. They may be able to reverse the payment or help you dispute the charge.
You can also report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission or the Better Business Bureau. They may be able to investigate the seller and take legal action against them.
Pet scams are a serious problem, and it’s essential to be aware of the risks and take steps to protect yourself. By doing your research, avoiding sketchy sellers, and using secure payment methods, you can reduce your chances of falling victim to a pet scam.