Internet Pet Scams – Don’t be a victim!

Internet pet scams - don't be a victim!

You’re looking for a purebred dog or cat, bird or monkey, slider or pet pig. You surf the Internet and answer a classified ad or post one of your own looking for a puppy, kitten or other animal. You get an email back stating that someone has the perfect puppy or kitten waiting for you. How do you know that the offer is not one of the Internet pet scams?

The sellers send pictures and say that, for a very small amount of money, they will ship your pet to your door. An agent from a (supposed) transport agency will be handling the shipping of your pet. Or they detail a problem than have which causes them to give up their pet to a good home. They ask personal emails about how you can care for the pet. They are very convincing.

All you have to do to get your pet is to wire the funds via Western Union, purchase a cash card or use some other non-refundable service to them. Oftentimes, the destination of the funds is Cameroon, Africa; however, it can be anywhere. The internet pet scammers then send you an authentic looking transfer of ownership as well as shipping documents with airline information on it, which is really cut and pasted artwork with logos and pictures stolen from other airline and transport websites without their permission.

A day or so later, they inform you that your pet is in an airport someplace and needs either another crate (air-conditioned or pressurized) or another vaccination or pet insurance or medical attention. They will tell you that you will be held personally liable if you do not wire more money. If you send more money, they come up with another excuse why your pet cannot be delivered. They threaten that you will be held personally liable if you do not pay.

In reality, there is no pet, and you have been caught up in one of a number of Internet pet scams. Chances of getting your money back are very slim. Hundreds of people just like you have sent thousands of dollars to Cameroon and other countries in hopes of getting an adorable pet they see in a picture. There are many warning signs. More information here.


Internet Pet Scams – Don’t be a victim! — 208 Comments

  1. I Just got scammed by a website called REBECCABYPETS IN SOUTH AFRICA , they even have a fake courier service they also Run called AU pets relocaters

  2. I am in the middle of a scam in Uk by Lovely Yorkies for sale or rehome advert Facebook. All you do is comment on cute photo then they message you no monies to pay that’s where it starts and then transport scam.I reported them to Action Fraud Uk and to my bank who gets in touch with their bank. To date there have been 4 names put forward. God knows where this scam originates from all prices are not representative.

  3. Martha – we are so sorry you even met these scammers. They have posted very appealing websites and even tracking systems to fool good people wanting to find a family pet. Offering refunds is a red flag and a common practice among scammers. Don’t let any threats they may fire at you count. They are the bad guys.

  4. I’m in the midst of a scam right now which brought me to this post. I posted in a facebook group for finding corgi puppies inquiring about a female. Immediately a man named “Tony M. Wood” messaged me. Said he was in Ohio which ended up being 9 hours to drive for me so originally I said I’m not willing to drive that far but thanks for your time. He said we can ship for $200 extra ($800 for the puppy so $1k total). Eventually I agreed due to just being clouded by excitement and wanting the puppy as soon as possible so I ended up ignoring some red flags such as using Zelle, the Zelle account name being different than the man messaging me (Zelle name was Leon Mims. Eventually I sent $400 deposit to move forward with shipping the puppy. Next day he told me he needed $300 more as he ran out of “funds.” By the grace of god my banking app was down today so even though I immediately went to send it once it failed I paused for a second and consulted a friend who agreed it was extremely suspicious and I shouldn’t send it. So eventually I just said no I’m not sending anymore until I have the puppy in my possession. Miraculously he found $300 and ended up sending me a tracking number for Fenant Delivery Express. The website is clearly fake as there are many grammatical and spelling errors. The puppy still hasn’t “shipped” yet so I haven’t gotten request for insurance or crate or anything but glad I read this as I would have been nervous with the threat of legal action. I’m blocking the man and will block any number or email from the “shipping” company that tries to contact me too. Any advice on how to report this? I’m thinking report to my bank, to Zelle, to the members and admins of the facebook group. Is there anywhere else so I can help people avoid this happening to them? I know I won’t get any of my money back at this point (I requested from him many times and said I didn’t want the puppy anymore and he just ignored- yet another red flag but was too late). Please let me know thank you & I’m sorry to everyone this has happened to. I hope this post can save at least one person

  5. This website said transportation was included. Then i receive a phone call from American Transport asking for $2000 and I would be refunded $1500 when the puppies were delivered. So sad

  6. Richelle – we regret that you ever met these people. Know that all live animals that are transported unaccompanied will not travel under a tracking number. They travel under an Air Waybill number issued by the airlines. This number cannot be tracked on any website other than the airline’s. This threatening behavior is typical of scammers. Disregard their threats. They are the bad guys. Report them to the authorities or or

  7. Happy home ferrets, preying on a family leading to absolute disappointment. Payment was made on Zelle contract was sent after payment was completed. I had many questions that never got answered, I requested a picture of the 2 ferrets together and then later on a picture of them packed up for shipping. I was blown off completely. Then I received a email from the “shipping company” movers-mx saying I needed to rent a temperature controlled crate and I would be “fully refunded upon delivery” Payment had to be sent through Zelle. I wrote the “breeder” a scathing email calling them out about all of the bulls**t. Prior to this tho I did a reverse phone number search, Google mapped their address listed, searched white pages for a person in the stated town with that name. My kids are crushed, we lost a lot of money that we will never see again. We have had positive experiences with finding family pets online prior to this interaction so I didn’t think too much of it until they kept avoiding sending a picture I requested.

  8. I just got scammed on Facebook for a Black Lab. They sent me a video and explained the dog and I wanted to get a dog for my anxiety. So I paid them through Zelle and then when I was going to pick the dog up the sent me pictures of an old lady in a hospital saying grandma was in the hospital. They said they are registering the dog at a delivery place and will send the dog to my door. Someone actually called me,Then they try and charge me again for insurance. They even had a tracking number on their website with all the info. But every time I requested for proof of vaccination or records or registration or proof of the dog, Nothing. No pictures or anything. So I said no. Now they try to threaten me saying I’ll be charged with abandonment

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