Craigslist scammers are everywhere and the pet section is not immune. Scammers will target prospective pet owners searching online forums. Maybe you’ve lost your pet, and are receiving emails and calls from a person who says they have your pet, but they want cash for a finder’s fee or for different things they have provided for your pet up front. Don’t fall for these scams on craigslist! It’s hard enough to place unwanted animals without the ruthless scam artists eating away at our meager funds we have for what we are doing. Read on for tips to protect yourself from all these scammers trying to do their dirty deeds at your expense.
Here are some things to watch out for. Some scams are preying on pet owners by using a convincing sob story. If you are looking for a new home for your pet you may run into people who are getting it free on craigslist and then reselling it. You will find them saying “dog died, looking to replace child’s pet,” or expressing devastation at loosing dog of 15 yrs, your heart goes out to them. Scanning down the craigslist you will find the same pet for sale again.
Another such scam is based on pet adoption. The scammer first posts an advertisement offering pets for sale at a ridiculously low price, most often using stolen pictures from other websites and respectable breeders. When a victim responds to the ad and questions the low price or reason for giving up such an expensive pet the scammer first explains they’ve recently moved where they can’t keep the pet. Maybe they don’t have time to properly care for or have too many other pets. Often they will ask for follow-up holiday photos and a continued line of communication so the victim does not expect a scam.
The scammer and victim exchange emails, id’s and phone calls to prove their credibility. The scammer offers to ship the pet and asks the victim to only pay for shipping or drops down the original price. Scammer then asks for untraceable money grams, western union, or money orders for payment. After transfer of money, the victim doesn’t receive the non-existent pet and when the victim does hear from the scammer again its only for more money to be sent for various reasons such as airport holding of the animal for quarantine or unexpected vet bills, until the victim finally just stops sending money.
Some pets are claimed from shelters and put up on craigslist as healthy and then end up with health issues. The lesson learned from this is to make sure your seller is legitimate. Do your homework and research your local animal shelter for recent adoptions of the particular pet you are trying to buy from this person.
Never give your personal information, which they will usually ask for first. This is an indication of scamming on craigslist. Many scams are run by people in other countries with limited written English skills whether English is their first language or not. Watch for poor grammar and spelling mistakes. Become suspicious if seller is out of the country, especially if they say they’re doing missionary work.
One of the warning signs is they will try to get you into an agreement to send money order or payment to the seller. Once cashed, there is no way to get your money back. Reports to police and authorities will do you no good. They will tell you that there was no crime committed. Well, we beg to differ! It’s obviously a crime, but there are just no laws in place at this time to stop them.