Someone Asked You to Pay Through Western Union for a Puppy—Now What?
We've discussed puppy scams and how to avoid falling for them many times on our blog, but since we've received phone calls about some new pet scam techniques in the past few days, we wanted to give our readers another heads up.
First of all, we highly discourage buying a pet from an unknown source, especially someone who is in a different state or country. If you can't go to their house, meet them, and see the pet for yourself, you're already taking a risk.
Read this. If any of these typical pet scam details sound familiar, walk away. Particular red flags include a very sad or dramatic story from the pet seller, a “free” pet that just requires paying “transportation costs,” and the request that you send payment via Western Union or MoneyGram.
Remember, just because someone has a picture of a pet, that doesn't mean it's real. Often pet scammers just find a photo online and pass it off as their own. Pet scammers do not actually have any pets in their possession, so anything they say about a puppy being stuck at the airport or being in danger is simply not true.
Same goes for “official” sounding pet company names. Google everything they send you to find out if they are real or not and pay close attention to the email address they use. If it's more sketchy than official, you should stop communicating with them.
Specific Example: We recently heard from someone taken in by a supposed breeder called “Bosco Bulldogs” who told their would-be client they were using PetRelocation to ship the pet. A little research reveals this is not a real breeder, and when they called us they found out that of course we knew nothing about the “order.” Note: PetRelocation deals with pet owners directly and will never ask that you wire money for our services.
In summary, just be smart. If something seems off, it's probably a scam. Never rush into anything and never send money to a questionable source online, and above all, remember that these problems can be avoided by adopting from your local animal shelter or rescue organization!
Feel free to leave a comment if you have any advice for your fellow pet lovers, and contact PetRelocation if you need assistance planning a pet move.
Photo credit: Jennifer/Flickr