Columbus, OH (December 8th, 2021) – BBB warns consumers considering adopting a puppy for Christmas to be aware that complaints about fake pet and puppy scams continue to grow in numbers as consumers fail victim to scammers who cheat them out of hundreds of dollars for pets that may not even exist.
How Pet Scams Work:
Online ads pop up during searches and lead to legitimate looking websites. The chosen pet is selected and the breeder makes a request for a money transfer or for the payment to be made by cash apps or gift cards before the pet can be delivered to the buyer. Consumers then report to the BBB Scam Tracker that either the pet is never delivered or the pet that arrives is nothing like the one advertised. When buyers try to get back in touch with the breeders, they find the websites gone and numbers disconnected.
Adopt, Don’t Shop:
The Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio spoke with Elycia Taylor, Communications Director at the Licking County Humane Society, on how pet scams can make for a difficult holiday season. Pets purchased from scamming breeders or puppy mills have a greater risk of health issues due to inbreeding and neglect, while they’re also less socialized with humans and other animals prior to adoption. “Multiple sources report to the Humane Society relating to breeders in the community who knowingly breed and sell sick puppies to consumers”, Taylor explained to the BBB of Central Ohio. The Licking County Humane Society urges central Ohio consumers to reach out to their own local humane society if they find that the puppy they purchased is not quite like the one advertised, whether it is an issue related to breeding, health, or behavior. Humane societies provided much needed animal healthcare and pet training at a low cost for their community members.
For those families who may be feeling overwhelmed with their new puppy purchase, reach out to your local humane society! They are there to help keep pets in their home by providing additional pet owner education resources.
Tips to Protect Yourself from Pet Scams:
- Visit and inspect the pet yourself. Arrange to meet with the prospective seller in person. Legitimate breeders will welcome your visit!
- Never send money to people or companies you may not know or trust. Once money is wired, it’s gone for good. It’s the same for prepaid debit or gift cards.
- Search the internet for pictures of the pet you’re considering buying. If the same image appears on multiple websites, it could be a fraudulent site. Consider searching for testimonials to see if it was copied from another website.
- Research prices. If a purebred dog is advertised for free or a deeply discounted price, it probably isn’t true. If a page claims to register the pets with a specific organization or registry, confirm unfamiliar sellers by contacting the organization directly.
If you’ve been a victim of a puppy scam, report it on BBB Scam Tracker to help others avoid a similar fate.
For more information on adopting pets for the holidays, contact Elycia Taylor at the Licking County Humane Society, (740) 323-2100 ext. 215.
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