Beware of Pet Scams
Animal groups and pet-lovers alike are stretched thin right now, as the economy makes the need for animal care even greater. Unfortunately, scammers are taking advantage of well-meaning consumers, by targeting their sense of compassion with fake rescue group posts on Facebook and other social media platforms. Here are a few common scams to be aware of, and tips to keep you and your money safer.
1) Legitimate Rescue Groups Hacked
This Scam involves hackers taking control of a legitimate animal welfare social property. In this recent hack involving a rescue and sanctuary, a caller pretending to be from Petfinder gained access to their Facebook page, and created fake posts using their own link, in order to collect donations from their followers.
2) Fake Animal Rescue Posts
In this scam, innocent people are tricked into “liking” or commenting on videos in which people are putting cats and dogs in distressing scenarios, then filming the “rescue”, with the goal of collecting clicks and revenue for their efforts. The Facebook page “Stop Fake Animal Rescues” provides awareness of scammers and works to have the fraudulent posts removed.
3) Pet Ad Scams
This scam takes advantage of people looking for free or cheap pets. The scammer may offer to send the pet for free, asking the buyer to pay for veterinary care, paperwork, shipping insurance and other fees. They may even include fake websites and links to travel carries to support their scam and make it appear legitimate. If you are purchasing a pet online, it is likely you are being scammed. Warning signs include the seller refusing to meet in person, misspellings in the ad or communication, or requests for you to wire money for other items.
Tips for Staying Safer from Pet Scams
If purchasing a pet, research reputable breeders, or better yet, adopt from a legitimate animal shelter or rescue. Educate yourself on what your desired breed normally costs, and use caution if the price seems low, or if the seller is not local, and offering to ship. Do not wire money, or purchase unless you can meet in person, in a safe public place.
Donate to legitimate animal rescues directly on their website. Don’t fall for fraudulent website links in random social posts. It’s better to support your local animal rescue or shelter or donate to a nationally recognized animal welfare organization.
Like or share posts from known sources and think twice before liking or sharing sensational posts from unknown sources. You can flag suspected animal fraud posts and videos on social platforms, which can help identify and limit these scammers.
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