Online Pet Advertisements Beware!!
Beware of pet scammers advertising pets for sale online!
Please be EXTREMELY careful if you are looking to purchase a new pet, there are a huge number of advertisements listed online advertising pets for sale, which are in actual fact, SCAMS. The advertisements will typically list puppies/ dogs for sale at unusually low prices and often there will be a “sob story” explaining the reason behind “selling” the dog – I.E the owner has becoming ill, a family member has died and can no longer look after the pet, and so on. In some instances, the scammer will tell you that the pet is “free” and that you will just have to pay the “courier” to transport to pet to you. In ALL of these cases, there are NO dogs or puppies – this is simply a trick to lure people in and to take as much money from them as possible.
The scammers will almost always ask for money to be transferred via Western Union in advance of receiving the pet- they will claim this is money for the purchase of the pet money for “transport” or for the “courier” and in most cases, the scammers will invent a last minute problem the day before the pet is due to arrive, and will ask for even more money to be transferred immediately – the scammers will try to take as much money as they can.
A common trick of the scammers is copying REAL pet shipping agency’s details and logo’s. We have received many calls from people who have been told by the scammers that “PBS” will be transporting the pets- PBS International Freight Ltd. is a pet shipping company – we do NOT sell pets and we urge you to never purchase a pet without seeing it in person. Common signs of a pet scam are listed below:
- Rare and pedigree breeds listed at “bargain” prices
- The seller will be situated in a remote area of the country (sometimes a different country all together!) making it impossible for you to see the pet before purchase (Instead they will steal pictures from the internet which they will e-mail to you, and claim that these are pictures of the pet for sale)
- Poor grammar and bad spelling- in both advertisement and correspondence
- Requests for numerous fees prior to receiving the pet – these will be for things such as “adoption papers” “pet shipping” “pet courier” etc.
- A distressing story to explain the reason behind selling the pet, as mentioned previously
There is an interesting article on the BBC Watchdog website here which shows an example of how one lady was scammed and you can also find further information at the IPATA website here
Once again, we advise you never to purchase a pet without seeing it for yourself (unless of course you know the seller) and to be extremely careful when looking at online advertisements.