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The BBB Warns of a Holiday Scam Involving Pet Adoption

Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers about an scams involving the selling of animals as pets for the holidays as gifts.

Scammers are misleading people photos that tug at the heart strings of “orphaned” pets, usually cats and dogs, needing homes this holiday season. However, once they receive initial payment for the pet, the scammer fails to deliver and then asks for more money for additional services they say are required to deliver the pet like shots and/or neutering.

The BBB’s scam tracker has documented the rise in complaints about fake pet scams. In three years, BBB received nearly 16,000 complaints and reports about businesses claiming to sell puppies that were not necessarily delivered.

The ads most consumers fall for can include listings from people who claim to be breeders or those who claim to be moving and need to find a new home for a pet that isn’t welcome in a new apartment or home rental unit. After promising delivery of the pet, “unexpected problems” arise, forcing buyers to invest more money to overcome these issues and have their pet delivered.

The BBB suggests the following tips to help you avoid being taken by one of these pet scams:

  • Try to meet your pet seller in person.
  • Never send money to companies or people you don’t know and trust.
  • Do an internet search for the picture of the pet you are considering, be sure it isn’t a fake.
  • Research prices for the breed you are interested in adopting or purchasing.
  • Check out the website.
  • Check BBB website for reviews and complaints.

Do you have additional information about this scam? Have you been a victim of the pet scam? Tell us in the comments below. You can also contact us for more information! Feel free to shoot us an email to You can also find us on TwitterFacebook, InstagramLinkedIn, or even connect with us directly on our website!

Similarly, please check out our current list of Class Actions and Class Action Investigations, here.

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About the Author: Aisha K. Staggers is a writer, lecturer, political analyst and literary agent. She appears weekly for “Staggers’ State of Things” on the Dr. Vibe Show. Her work has been published by Paper Magazine, AfroPunk, The Spool, GREY Journal, MTV News, HuffPost, Blavity, Atlanta Blackstar, For Harriet, New York Review of Books and a host of other first-run publications and syndicated outlets. Find her on Twitter @AishaStaggers. For more of her work, check out her page here!

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