MINOT, N.D. – In a time when people are seeking emotional comfort, the demand for pets has skyrocketed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But as people are seeking to add a furry new friend to their families over the holiday season, the Better Business Bureau reports that online puppy and pet scams have also seen an increase during COVID-19.
Reports from the BBB said online scammers lure in potential pet owners with fake photos of pets.
They then request money before promising to ship an animal that doesn’t exist, or request additional fees after a payment is made.
The BBB reports consumers lost more than 3 million dollars, with the average consumer losing almost $800 through fraudulent purchases.
They said the best way to avoid pet scams is to purchase close to home.
“We ask you to think about some other sources or resources around in our local community where you might be able to see a pet or meet a vendor, a seller in person before you make a purchase,” said Bao Vang, Communications Director for BBB Minnesota and North Dakota.
The BBB suggests looking out for red flags including requests for wire transfers, grammatical and punctuation mistakes on websites, or flash deals that may seem to good to be true.
They also said more than 4,000 pet scam reports have been recorded since the start of 2020.
You can report and track scams in your area by going to the BBB’s Scam tracker website here.
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