BBB has seen a spike in pet adoption scams due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pet adoption is on the rise as people look for furry friends to keep them company in isolation, and scammers are working this angle to defraud potential pet owners.
Many traditional pet adoption channels have become unavailable due to the economic shutdown, prompting people to turn to websites or social media to find a pet. Because of our current isolation and social distancing restrictions, adopters may be more willing to try and adopt a pet they haven’t seen in person. These factors create a perfect storm for scammers, who have been reported to claim meeting the pet isn’t possible due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Hopeful adopters respond to the fake ads and are instructed to pay for “COVID-safe shipping,” special insurance, or COVID-19 vaccinations-- which don’t yet exist-- in order to receive their new pet. And as is common with traditional pet scams, the scammers will continue to ask for money until you run out, or catch on. They then disappear, leaving you without the money or your pet.
To avoid falling victim to this scam, thoroughly research anyone offering pets for sale. Use bbb.org to check out businesses or organizations before handing over your hard-earned money.
Report any suspicious activity to Scamtracker.org, and visit covid19cincy.org/ for current information on scams pertaining to COVID-19.