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Better Business Bureau warns of pet scams during pandemic

A pet may seem like a nice idea for a gift this year, but scammers know that too. The Better...
A pet may seem like a nice idea for a gift this year, but scammers know that too. The Better Business Bureau says thieves are just waiting for you to contact them about buying a dog or cat you may never receive.
Published: Dec. 2, 2020 at 4:22 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A pet may seem like a nice idea for a gift this year, but scammers know that too.

The Better Business Bureau says thieves are just waiting for you to contact them about buying a dog or cat you may never receive.

With the pandemic going on, a lot of folks are staying at home and deciding they’d like to have a new furry friend to keep them company.

Heather Clary, with the Better Business Bureau of Central and Eastern Kentucky, says people are shopping online, mostly for a purebred dog. The scammer knows consumers can be desperate and will pay anywhere from $750 hundred fifty bucks up to $1,000 for a pet they might never get.

“With the pandemic going on, they are able to pile on more cost. They’ll say we need to send it in a climate-controlled crate and ‘we can’t meet you because of pandemic restrictions,’” Clary said.

It’s a problem nationwide. Millions of dollars shelled out for nothing in return.

“It was less than $500,000 in losses back in 2017,” Clary said. “That has multiplied six times in the past few years.”

It can be a roller coaster of emotions, a live fun-loving pet, to nothing at all.

“We’re talking about a purchase as close to your heart makes the kids happy and it’s very easy for a con artist they just pull pictures off the internet,” Clary said.

So, what can you do so you’re not the next victim? Clary says some red flags are the scammer takes cash only and they can’t or won’t meet you in person.

What you can also do is see if the person selling the pet will do a video chat with you or, simply, adopt a shelter pet.

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