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BBB: Pet scams continue to take toll on Texans

Ask the Better Business Bureau
BBB: Tips for a Fraud Free 2021
Posted at 11:20 AM, Mar 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-23 12:39:43-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Wednesday is National Puppy Day, and consumers can expect a nearly-constant stream of cute puppy pictures across most social-media platforms celebrating everyone’s furry best friends. Ours included.

After seeing these pictures, some consumers may decide that the time is right for a dog of their own, and will begin the process of searching for and purchasing a canine companion. However, exercising caution when shopping online for the perfect pet is important.

Pet scams continue to take a heavy toll on consumers across the nation, and in Texas. According to the BBB’s 2021 Scam Tracker Risk Report, pets were the most common type of purchase used to perpetrate online purchase scams, and current data shows little indication 2022 will be much different.

"Just in Texas, there have been more than $25,000 has been lost to pet scams so far in 2022, which accounts for half of all monetary losses to online purchases," said Better Business Bureau regional director Katie Galan.

Galan said, of those who reported a loss of money due to a pet scam, the median amount lost is a staggering $1,363.

She said the BBB also receives reports of fraudulent sellers advertising the sale of kittens, reptiles and birds that are never received.

“In most cases, consumers do not recognize they are interacting with a scammer until they start arranging for the transportation of the animal after purchase,” said Better Business Bureau vice president of communications Heather Massey.

In February, one Texas resident submitted a report to BBB Scam Tracker stating they lost $1,000 when attempting to buy a miniature schnauzer online. After paying an initial $400 to the seller, they referred the buyer to a shipping company to deliver the pet.

In addition to the risks associated with purchasing a puppy online, many charitable givers may consider donating to causes that support dogs this National Puppy Day. While the BBB encourages charitable giving, it is vital to remain aware of scammers who create fraudulent charities and crowdfunding initiatives disguised as a worthy cause.

If considering a donation to a crowdfunding initiative, BBB recommends donating only to those you personally know or can independently verify as legitimate.

For more information about pet scams, visit BBB.org/PetScams.

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