October 22, 2022

The demand for “quarantine puppies” and other pets increased dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing with it a spike in scams that has persisted even as virus-related lockdowns have abated.

Online pet scams — in which an online search ends with a would-be pet owner paying hundreds of dollars or more to adopt a pet that ultimately doesn’t exist — are especially pervasive during the holiday season, when families may be looking to add a furry family member as a gift. Better Business Bureau  advises extreme caution if shopping for a pet online.

In addition to a shortage of puppies available due to high demand, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suspended imports of dogs to the U.S. from 100 countries deemed at high risk of rabies. The U.S. imports 1 million dogs each year.

People currently shopping for pets online are very likely to encounter a scam listing in an online ad or website. Knowing the red flags associated with this scam can help consumers avoid heartache and losing their money.

Online shopping scam reports to BBB Scam Tracker have skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and pet scams make up 35% of those reports in 2021. While pet scam-related reports are down slightly from 2020, they are expected to be double this year to those in 2019, and more than four times as many as 2017, when BBB published its…

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