Someone said that dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. For this reason being lonely at home during this pandemic has resulted in people seeking ways to complete their lives with pets. Unfortunately, that has led to unscrupulous traders seeing it as an opportunity to make easy money through scamming the unwary buyers. Before you fall victim to such tricks, here is a story of how some have been taken advantage of and how you can spot and avoid any dog scam.
A family loses $250 in a dog scam
Jillian Hanna, a 16-year-old girl from Mokena, thought she had so much time on her hands during this lockdown and the best way to utilize it was to train a puppy. She, therefore, went online to look for the ideal pet and fell in love with an Australian shepherd, Kate, thus Jillian and her mother, Caroline immediately started making arrangements to buy her. They say that you should never discredit your gut because your body can pick up on bad vibes and will warn you. However, even if Jillian’s mother sensed something was wrong during her correspondence with the business representative who was emphatic that they were not taking advantage of the family due to the pandemic, Caroline ignored her gut.
Instead she was desperate to get Jillian the dog with mismatched eyes and patchwork coat thus sent the seller $250. As soon as the payment was made, the seller did not bother returning the emails from Caroline which left Jillian in tears all night as her hard-earned money had gone down the drain and her wish to train a puppy would remain a far-fetched dream. After reporting their case to Better Business Bureau (BBB), Caroline and Jillian found out that they were among the many victims of such dog scams and the number of complaints lodged was on the increase.
Other families that have fallen prey to such online pet scams
According to CTV News, after selling their winter home in the U.S, Audrey and her husband thought that since they would not be traveling a lot, getting a dog was the most sensible thing to do. Therefore after browsing the net, they came across Kim, a Cavalier King Charles and immediately sent an email to the company, King Charles Empire, to ask about Kim. The couple spoke to John, the company representative who responded to Audrey’s questions and sent her a video of Kim. John said that despite there being travel limits, the couple could still get Kim; therefore, Audrey and her husband paid $450 deposit.
However, after John kept forgetting Kim’s name, Audrey suspected there was a problem, so she started investigating only to find out that the company had been reported to be involved with pet scams. Audrey reported her case to BBB, who also found out that the website of the business was set up in March 2020 and no such company existed in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Audrey said she felt stupid but wondered how she could have missed anything yet the site was professional and the personnel was very keen to tell her that the pets were vet-checked, vaccinated and of good health.
Audrey is not an exception because the Kings family also parted with $1000 after being scammed to buy a miniature dachshund puppy named Ken. The family was shown beautiful pictures of Ken and were promised he would be sent to Abbotsford airport from where the Kings would pick him up. However, after arriving at the airport, the puppy was nowhere to be seen, and the British Columbia family realized they had lost their money.
How to spot and avoid falling victim to such scams
CBS DFW provides a few guidelines that BBB has suggested to avoid them. First of all, even with the need to maintain a safe distance, you can still visit the business and see the dog you are intending to buy as long as you take the necessary precaution of wearing masks. The BBB also adds that you should ask for videos and photos of the pet, but given how Audrey’s case went, videos no longer suffice. As for images, research if pictures of the same pet have been advertised on various websites.
You can also check how long the website has existed because most scammers have set up sites during the COVID-19 pandemic thus treat any site created between March and May 2020 with suspicion. When it comes to making your payment, of course, online business is all based on trust, and you will be willing to pay even before you receive your pet. However, you should ensure that you can get your money back by using credit cards since wire transfers are untraceable should a dispute arise. Still, even before you make a deposit, check for the average prices that similar breeds are going for because a scammer will most likely sell his pet for a heavily discounted price to entice you to buy.
You should also be careful with sellers that are continually making excuses and asking for money than was previously arranged. For instance, you can be told to pay extra fees for vaccination. Moreover, to facilitate better shipment due to the COVID -19 restrictions, an unscrupulous seller will ask you to send more money because the animal can’t be shipped until a specific restriction has been lifted. All the same, if you follow these steps and still suspect you have been scammed, you should contact the Federal Trade Commission and BBB Scam Tracker.
Finally, before you go browsing the net looking for an adorable furry companion, how about you check out your local shelters for any animal that is available for adoption. At least that way, you will be sure that the place exists and the vigorous procedure before being allowed to adopt ensures that you will also have the option of returning the dog if you two do not get along. Best of all, you will not fork out any dollars until you see the pet you are taking home.