BBB: Consumers lose $11,000 to pet scams in July

Consumer Watch

RALEIGH, N.C. – Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina (BBB) is warning consumers about online pet scams. According to BBB Scam Tracker, local consumers across the Triangle and Eastern North Carolina lost more than $11,000 to pet scams in the month of July alone.

“In 2020, pet scams rose dramatically resulting in losses reaching approximately $3,000,000 across North America,” said Mallory Wojciechowski, president, and CEO of BBB. “The local monetary losses for the month of July are showing this scam is still a popular ploy and it is important for people to take the proper steps in order to avoid financial loss and the disappointment of not getting the animal they were expecting.”

“In 2020, pet scams rose dramatically resulting in losses reaching approximately $3,000,000 across North America,” said Mallory Wojciechowski, president, and CEO of BBB. “The local monetary losses for the month of July are showing this scam is still a popular ploy and it is important for people to take the proper steps in order to avoid financial loss and the disappointment of not getting the animal they were expecting.”

Better Business Bureau offers the following advice on how to avoid pet scams:

  • See the pet in person before paying any money. Request to see the pet in person or consider a video call with the seller so you can see the seller and the actual pet for sale. Since scammers are not likely to comply with the request, this may help avoid a scam.
  • Do a reverse image search of the photo of the pet and search for a distinctive phrase in the description.
  • Do research to get a sense of a fair price for the breed you are considering. Think twice if someone advertises a purebred dog for free or at a deeply discounted price … it could be a fraudulent offer.
  • Check out a local animal shelter for pets that are in need of a a forever home.

If you are the victim of a pet scam, contact:

  • Petscams.com– tracks complaints, catalogues puppy scammers and endeavors to have fraudulent pet sales websites removed.
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC)– Go to ftc.gov to file a complaint online or call 877-FTC-Help.
  • Better Business Bureau– Contact BBB Scam Tracker to report suspicious or criminal activity online.
  • Your credit card issuer– Contact your bank if you provide your credit card number to a spurious individual or site, even if the transaction was supposedly canceled.

For more information, you can trust, visit BBB.org.

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