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Scams in Pet Classified Ads - how to Protect Yourself

Everywhere you look in this world you may find someone
trying to take advantage of someone else. The arena of pet
sales is no different. There are many scams online and
offline that prey on people who are looking to buy, sell or
re-home pets.

One of the most common pet classified ad scams is to offer
to sell you an animal that does not really exist. Most of
these scams focus on the most rare or in-demand breeds or
types of pet. The scammers know that people who are looking
for exact breeds are more likely to be willing to jump
through hoops to get the breed they want.

Scammers use this to their advantage by selling pet animals
that don't really exist. They place an ad on a classified
site for a popular breed or type of animal. They rarely
claim to be located near you but offer shipping or pick up
service. They ask you for a deposit to hold your new pet or
even full payment up front, and once you send the money they
are gone into the night.

Another type of pet scam is done by people who prey on those
that want to give away or sell a pet. There are a few
variations on this scam for which to watch. Some people will
take a purebred dog or cat supposedly as a new family pet
and then sell it into the puppy or kitten mill trade, or
resell it for a profit with no care for the buyer's
knowledge of caring for it.

The most heinous are the people who want the pet you are
trying to re-home to sell it for research purposes. To avoid
this, always charge a re-homing fee when you advertise your
pet to keep these characters far away from your ads.

Another scam that is perpetrated on people attempting to
sell pets is a run of the mill "Nigerian scheme." It goes
down like this: the scammer contacts you in regards to your
ad and tells you they want the animal more than anything in
the world and they will send you payment in advance, but
they need to have an agent pick it up for whatever reason.

What happens next is that you will get a check, deposit it,
and the pet will be picked up quickly thereafter. Often the
check will be made out for more than your asking price and
the ever so nice buyer will ask you to give the agent some
of the money back for his expenses. Later that check will
bounce and you are out whatever you gave them back, as well
as your pet, with little to no recourse for recouping your

The rules of any transactions apply to pet sales as well.
Deal locally if possible, make sure you know the reputation
of the person you are buying from, and use common sense.
When something seems too good to be true, it most likely is.

There are ways you can protect yourself from these scams, visit
our Scam Alert page on  where you
can find examples of scams and emails and list of known scammer
emails that people have reported to us.

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