When searching for a new furry friend for your family, the last thing you should need to worry about is whether or not the person you’re purchasing from is a scammer. Scammers often promise to a healthy, happy pet, but will deliver something entirely different – and often, won’t deliver anything at all.

In order to save yourself the hassle and heartbreak of dealing with an online pet scam, here are some of the biggest things that you need to look out for when searching for that perfect, fluffy addition to your family.

1. A scammer will often give away pets for “free”

If you see this advertised online, consider this a red flag. Often, scammers will “give away” a pet for a delivery fee, or offer a discounted price. If you encounter an ad that seems too good to be true, especially in terms of price, it probably is. These scams often leave expectant pet owners empty-handed, and with an empty wallet.

2. A scammer will often ask you to pay in cash or via Western Union

Payment for pets online can problematic, but it’s especially problematic when the person you’re buying for is requesting payment by one of the above methods. If the seller is from out of the country, they may even request use of these payment methods to cover the cost of shipping the pet, crating, food, pet insurance, travel expenses, etc.

3. A scammer will not provide detailed information, pictures, or proof

One of the best ways to tell whether or not you’re dealing with a scammer is if the pet seller isn’t forthcoming with theirs, or the pet’s information. If the sellers don’t provide details regarding their location, the pet’s medical history (e.g. records of shots), or any other information that would be regarded as “proof” of having the pet in their possession, they are probably a scammer.

How to avoid being scammed

Even though it can sometimes be difficult to fully determine if you’re being scammed or not, there are some preventative measures you can take to ensure that you won’t fall victim to an online pet scammer. These measures include:

  • Asking the seller for multiple pictures of the pet, including pictures of the pet beside items such as a tennis ball or newspaper, to indicate that the pet is “real.”
  • Asking for the pet’s veterinary records, or a phone number by which their previous vet can be reached.
  • Avoiding sellers who are outside of the country.
  • Asking for breeder registry information, if the seller says that they’re a breeder.
  • Researching fair pricing for the pet, especially if the pet is considered purebred.
  • Researching the pet seller, including their online reviews, seller information, etc.
  • Asking for proof of location and any other pertinent documentation.

There are thousands of pet scammers out there that are looking to take advantage of someone who wants to bring a new pet into their family. However, when you’re aware of the signs, you can eliminate the possibility of being scammed, and welcome a new furry friend into your home in no time.

When you’re ready to travel with your favourite furry companion, contact Worldwide Animal Travel. We’ll always give your fur baby the first-class treatment!