Pet scams are big business these days, with scammers posing as breeders and raking in money from many people in the United States. The Better Business Bureau estimates that pet scam reports have increased nearly five times since 2017, when the trend first came to their attention.

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If you see the perfect pet for sale, how can you be sure it’s not a scam?

  • Closely examine the pictures.

Scam artists use stock photos or Google Images to advertise nonexistent pets.

  • Be skeptical of too good a price.

If an accredited breeder charges $1000 for the same pet that you’re seeing for sale for $250, something’s wrong.

  • Check the seller’s profile.

The new profile selling pets below market value, using stock photos with no reviews? Don’t trust it. Reputable breeders work hard to gain word-of-mouth and reviews on their sites.

  • Pay attention to how they communicate.

Trying to set up a visit prior to buying? That’ll be a no go.  Scammers don’t want to talk to you on the phone or meet in person.

  • Choose your payment method wisely.

Scammers want to be paid digitally with instant access to the funds. They also want you to send a payment that can’t be reversed or tracked.

Any online purchase can be risky; buying a pet is no different. Take your time and find a reputable seller.