Updated October 12, 2017
Having a pet makes most people happier and healthier. Searching for the right furry friend for your family can be an emotional experience, but sometimes would-be sellers prey on your emotions to lure you into a costly scam.
Some online sellers post adorable photos of pets on websites to hook you, quickly ask for a deposit by gift card or money order, and then try to renegotiate for a higher price.
Shady sellers might unexpectedly charge buyers for additional funds to cover food, pet supplies, and veterinary expenses.
Scammers sometimes use photos of pets that are not for sale. Some even post pictures of cute puppies or kittens that don’t even belong to them.
Pet scams like these are becoming more common. The Federal Trade Commission receives more than 35,000 complaints involving pets each year.
Here are some tips on what to do to avoid pet sales scams:
- Do not buy a pet without seeing them in person first.
- Do not pay with gift cards, money orders, or wire transfers.
- Pay with a credit card so you can dispute the charge if necessary.
- Pay a reasonable price or adoption fee. Do your research to understand a proper price/adoption fee based on age, breed, and species.
- Before you buy, make sure a breeder is reputable.
- Consider adopting from a local animal shelter or rescue organization.