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Online pet purchase scams pose growing risk to consumers

Better Business Bureau encourages customers to beware of scams related to purchasing pets online
Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 11:16 AM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - Online pet purchase scams, where people purchase a pet online, only to find out their animal was never shipped and probably never existed are on the rise.

According to the Better Business Bureau, these scams represent 25% of online scams reported to BBB’s Scam Tracker. The BBB says these pet scams are now the riskiest under its scam index, and that 70% of consumers involved in them report losing money. The typical dollar amount lost in these categories of scams is $700.

“We have seen here in Idaho people have lost over $5,000 just in the past couple months trying to purchase pets online,” said Jeremy Johnson of the Better Business Bureau Northwest and Pacific. “A lot of times you are lured in with a deposit and then they need more money to transport that pet.”

The Better Business Bureau reminds consumers there’s several things they can do to avoid becoming the victim of a pet purchase scam, such as never purchasing an animal without seeing it in-person.

  • Don’t buy a pet unless it’s in-person. If you do need to purchase a pet online, conduct an internet search of the picture of the animal. If you’re able to find the picture posted on other websites, it’s likely a scam.
  • Don’t wire money or use a cash app or gift.
  • Research the price of the pet you plan on purchasing before looking for options online.
  • Reach out to your local animal shelters.

If people do become a victim of a pet purchasing scam, they’re encouraged to report it to the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker or Federal Trade Commission. For more information regarding scams similar to these, visit the Better Business Bureau.

Copyright 2020 KMVT/KSVT. All rights reserved.

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