How to avoid online pet sale scams this holiday season

There are few things more gratifying than seeing a friend or family member’s expression when they realize they’re getting a pet for Christmas.

But how big of a problem are scams when it comes to buying pets online?

The Better Business Bureau reports they’ve received more than 330 cases just in November of this year. They had 77 cases in November 2019.

The reason? It’s the pandemic, according to Katie Galan with the BBB.

“Scammers are aware that people are staying home,” she said. “People have more time. A lot of people are thinking about getting pets now because you’re home. You have more time to train your pets. Some people might live alone. They feel lonely especially with the restrictions, not being able to visit a lot of people right now.”

Some tips to protect yourself:

1. Insist on an in-person visit with seller and pet.

If the seller lives outside the United States, you probably want to find someone else. If an in-person visit can’t be arranged, ask for pictures of the pet.

2. Make sure the seller can provide all paperwork.

Ask for all immunization records. What vet does the seller use for the pet you’re buying? If it’s a pure breed, ask who the breeder is, and for the breeders’ registration documentation.

3. Only pay with a credit card.

The average scam can set you back at least $750. Sometimes more.
Credit card companies are generally more willing to give you a refund and chase the scammers themselves.

4. Report scams to local law enforcement, the FTC and BBB’s Scam Tracker.

Report the scam to help prevent this from happening to someone else

5. Look for a new pet at a local shelter.

Check with local shelters. They’d love nothing better than to see you take one of their pets and give it a forever loving home.

By Andy Liscano, KZTV.

 

About the Author