Adopting A Rescue Or Shelter Dog? Avoid Scams!
Have your guard up if you’re thinking about rescuing or adopting!
If you are thinking about rescuing a four-legged friend then be on the lookout for scams. There’s a recent upswing in targeting people who want to adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue. Scammers do this by impersonating real animal shelters or posing as individuals wanting to rehome an animal.
How Does The Scam Work?
You are looking to adopt a dog, and you find an animal shelter or individual online wanting to rehome a puppy. You message them for more information and receive a convincing, heart-tugging backstory. In one case a scammer claimed to be finding a new home for her poodle after a car accident because she was unable to care for the dog. In other cases, scammers will even impersonate real animal shelters.
These deceivers are pretty creative and can be difficult to detect.
This is a purchase from the heart so often folks are blindsided. The scammer may not charge for the dog. Instead, they ask for a refundable deposit to “hold” the dog or request payment to ship the dog to your home. Most scammers will ask you to pay through a digital wallet (Zelle is mentioned in several reports) or use a pre-paid debit card or gift card. Although this scam mostly involves dogs be careful because it can also include cats and other pets.
Too many red flags means no new pup a lot of lost money!
Rescuing or adopting a new dog should not have you looking blue!
After you pay, the problems begin.
Sometimes victims will drive to the “shelter” to pick up their new dog, only to find no such address exists. You may call, and get a text they are coming down with your new pup. Beyond that the communication comes to a screeching halt. Their phone STOPS accepting calls! Sadly, it becomes clear there’s no new pup and you’re out a couple hundred dollars.
In other versions, the con artists offer to ship the dog. But first they say you need to pay up front for emergency vet visits, additional shipping fees, or even a COVID-19 test. These criminals are relentlessly shameless and ask for more money to resolve imaginary problems. They’ll even promise a refund after delivering your dog. If you’re not already disgusted then get a load of this. They may even claim your new pet will be euthanized if you don’t pay up. upon receiving your hard-earned your money, scammers disappear. The dog never existed because it was all a lie.
How Do You Avoid These Scams?
- Never buy or adopt a dog without seeing it in person. This is the best way to ensure you aren’t caught in a con because seeing is believing!
- Do an internet search of the dog’s image. If you do find a pup online, upload the pup’s photo to a reverse image search. If you find multiple pet adoption sites using the same picture then it’s probably a scam.
- Only use money transfer with friends: Protect yourself from scams by only using money transfer apps for their intended purpose — sending money to people you personally know.
If you’ve been scammed or spot one then report it because it will help others avoid falling victim.