Impostors and Imitators
Consumers aren’t the only victims of identity theft. Cyber thieves steal business identities and wreck solid reputations. They hide behind roaming Internet addresses, fake street addresses and U.S. phone numbers forwarded overseas. Pet Relocator, a recent victim of an Internet impostor, warns customers that Internet thieves copy legitimate websites and logos and lure people into purchasing puppies, kittens and other pets.
Pet Relocator does not do business with people selling animals.
Pet scams and how to avoid them
Your family has been dreaming of that new pet. A purebred Bulldog, Persian, Boxer, Ragdoll, parrot. You go to Craigslist, Oodle Marketplace, or Petclassified thinking it is a good place to start. You read a sob story about how they have fallen on hard times and that is why they are just asking you to pay a small re-homing fee and shipping (usually much less than a reputable breeder). The pet had to be moved and is no longer local to you. These scammers are worse during the holidays preying on those who only want to make their loved ones happy with the new pet they have always dreamed of having, but find victims throughout the year.
Tips to avoid being Scammed
- Buy local and meet someone in person
- If payment is asked for via Western Union, Money Gram be very wary, it is most likely a scam. Most reputable breeders require deposits on pets via check before they are even ready to be adopted and most Pet Transportation specialists accept payment via credit cards as well as other means. WE DO NOT ACCEPT WESTERN UNION OR MONEYGRAM.
- If they tell you they can ship the pet within 24 hours of payment, don’t fall for it!
- If you are getting a pure breed or exotic animal for the “cost of shipping” it is a scam.
- Have used a legitimate logo of a pet shipper (like ours), but have an email address like gmail, yahoo, Microsoft (any free email service).
- Email or call the pet shipper directly that they say they work with and ask if they are legitimate. Most pet shippers are available M-F during normal business hours.
- The American Kennel Club hosts an online source for reputable AKC-registered breeders at marketplace.akc.org.
- You can also find more information on pet scams at www.ipata.org/pet-scams
What to do if you have been scammed
There are ways pet lovers can effectively fight back. If you are the victim of a pet scam, contact any of the following agencies to identify the validity of the pet seller. There are no free pets. If you are a victim of an Internet impostor, report it.