During quarantine, breeders have seen an unprecedented demand for canine companions. But some sellers aren’t who they seem to be.
In the biggest pet peccadillo since 101 Dalmatians, fraudsters are taking victims for a walk by selling them… imaginary dogs.
From mid-February through July, the Better Business Bureau has received 2k+ pet scam reports in the US and Canada — 3x last year’s figure.
Some scammers are super savvy
They build slick websites with dozens of pooch pics and fake testimonials from “satisfied clients.” Often, photos of the ultra-stylish Pugdashian posse and Norman the Pomsky are hijacked from their owners’ Instagram accounts and used to lure in victims.
When these individuals out to purchase a pup, they’re told to pay online and the dog will be delivered in a few weeks. And that’s the last they hear from the Shih Tzu charlatans.
Some have lost thousands of dollars buying dogs that don’t exist. And recouping losses is usually a no-go, since many scammers are located overseas.
The American Kennel Club’s got your back
How do you sidestep a swindler? Here are some tips:
- If they insist on communicating only by email, they’re probably trying to hide that they’re overseas.
- If a reverse image search shows photos on a seller’s website appearing elsewhere, that’s a red flag.
- Just say no to Venmo. Asking for wire transfers or payment with gift cards also are signs of a sketchball.