PET SHIPPING SCAMS
There are some bad, dishonest people out there ! These bad people set up fake websites, fake email addresses, fake information, and extort money from innocent people with their heart set on receiving a new pet. These bad people are known as Pet Shipping Scammers.
My mom, owner of Continental Pet Relocation, gets calls weekly from people that have been scammed. They call asking when their puppy (or monkey) will be delivered. These people have sent money to a Pet Scammer via Western Union or MoneyGram with the promise of their new pet arriving soon.
HOW TO THESE PET SCAMS WORK ? These criminals often create fake websites and emails, copying legitimate company logos and company names. These criminals will post fake advertisements on the internet, typically Craigslist or Facebook advertising pets (usually puppies) for sale. Most often these pets are offered at no cost, and only ask the buying to pay for shipping or pet insurance. These scammers will ask you to wire the money via Western Union or Money Gram for shipping. This method of payment is not traceable. After you have sent the money, they will continue to extort money from you for things like health exam, health license, pet insurance, or a different travel crate. If you do not comply by sending more money, they will threaten you with adding charges for additional feeding and animal abandonment.
DOES THE ADVERTISEMENT SOUND TO GOOD TO BE TRUE ? YES ? Then it probably is a scam ! First of all, there is no such thing as “pet insurance”. These scammers will use every story to convince you that this is a legitimate transaction. They will lie and tell you anything to convince you that there is a puppy. They will send pictures of the pet (that does not exist) and copy company names. If you look closely, there are almost always misspellings in the emails and the company name. The company email they are attempting to copy is spelled differently and the contact phone numbers do not match..
PET RELOCATION COMPANIES CAN BE VERIFIED. If the scammer claims to be working with a pet courier or pet transporter, you can verify that these companies are legitimate by visiting www.IPATA.ORG.
HOW DO I KNOW THAT THIS IS A PET SCAM ? Here are a few signs that this is most likely a scam:
1.The person is offering a pet for free, especially pure breed pets, and asking that you only pay the shipping or pet insurance
2. Advertise the pet on Craigslist or Facebook.
3. The person won’t allow you to meet with them in person and see the pet.
4. They are using a free email address such as Google, yahoo, outlook, Hotmail etc rather than a company email address.
5. They have frequent misspellings in their correspondence and ask you to pay for things that don’t exist such as pet insurance.
6. Ask you to wire the money via Western Union or Money Gram. There is no way to track this method of payment.
HOW TO AVOID BEING SCAMMED
Do not look for pets for sale on community posting sites such Craigslist that is not local to you. Often times, they start out saying they are local, then change the story to say that the pet is now in a different location. Use local resources such as the human society, rescue organizations or petfinders.com. If you feel like you are dealing with someone legitimate, verify their company by looking for their official website and contacting the owner of the company to verify if they are involved in any relocation of this pet.
REPORT PET SCAMS by visiting http://www.ipata.org/pet-scams/
We would be happy to help you relocate your new family member !