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Preventing Fraud: Pet Scam

A cat sleeping on owner's leg.

Imagine you see a desirable pet listed for sale online.

You reach out to the prospective seller and express interest in purchasing the animal. After you send money to the alleged owner to pay for the pet, you are told that additional funds are needed to cover the cost of things like a ventilated shipping crate, insurance and other reasons.

Regardless of how much money is sent, the alleged seller will find new reasons to ask for additional payment. This continues until you realize you’ve been scammed at which point you could be out hundreds or thousands of dollars. The alleged sellers don’t own any actual pets and are just out to scam victims of all the cash they can.

Here’s how to protect yourself from this scam:

  • Always meet your future pet in person before paying.
  • Never wire money for a pet purchase.
  • Beware of any seller who says they’re located out of town (or worse, overseas).
  • Don’t pay for a pet you found online with money transfer apps and services.
  • Adopt from a local shelter.
  • Don’t trust “free pet” offers or offers that seem too good to be true.

For more stories like this one, visit www.ecu.com/files/FraudBooklet.pdf.

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