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Beware of Pet Scams
A pet lover sees an ad somewhere offering a pet for an unusually low price because the pet owner can no longer keep the pet due to the owner having moved to an African country where the climate is not suitable to the pet's health. Other variations on this involve financial hardship, an unexpected move for employment, or that the pets? lives are in peril from being abandoned. When these ads appear online, they look legitimate and feature pictures of the pet mentioned in the ad, increasing the likeliness of a successful scam.
The pet lover responds to the ad and receives an email from a seemingly legitimate email address requesting a low sum of money, usually just over $100. Upon receipt of the money wire, the scammers generally request additional money for pet shipping insurance and customs processing costs. Because they have already wired money, victims are inclined to send additional funds to hedge their initial investment and help the animal. But once the funds are sent, no pets are shipped and the seller does not respond to any additional correspondence.
Use Best Judgement To Avoid Pet Scams
There are a number of red flags which should alert pet lovers to the nature of these scams, but their judgment is often clouded by their fondness for animals. To avoid becoming a victim, look for these warning signs:
- Wiring Money to an Overseas Address? Usually the scams involve sending money to Nigeria, Cameroon, or another African country.
- Unusually Low Prices? Purebred breeds and hard-to-find animals are usually offered at prices well below the market value.
- Follow-Up Requests for More Money? Once a modest sum has been sent, victims usually receive a reply shortly thereafter requesting a larger amount of money.
- Refundable Pet Insurance? Short-term pet insurance for over $1000 that will supposedly be refunded when the pet arrives is requested.
Escrow.com Protects Online Buyers and Sellers from Fraud