- Scam Destroyer
- Posts: 5984
- Joined: 23 Jan 2020
The scammers start the scam by sending emails to people with photos of animals that they don’t really own. They also put these photos of fictitious animals on their pet-scam websites as being pets that they have available for purchase. The photos are of course real animals, but they are photos that the scammers have stolen from legitimate websites and/or breeders. The scammers may also send out forged pedigree animal documents and forged health or vaccination certificates to attempt to help convince people to pay money to them as an advance deposit (or even full advance payment) for purchase of a non-existent animal.
This is a form of an advance-fee fraud scam that is known as a "non-delivery" scam. If you want to know more about the mechanics of how non-delivery purchasing scams work then please click here.
As mentioned above, many of these pet scammers will have a fraudulent website showing various fictitious pets for sale and they will also introduce a fraudulent shipping company website later (another fake website that they also control) once someone agrees to buy one of their fictitious pets.
When someone first responds to one of their pet scam ads via email then the scammers will usually reply using a Gmail email address and often provide a link to the fraudulent pets-for-sale website that they control. This use of a Gmail email address, together with a separate pets for sale website, is one strong indication that it is a scam. A real breeder would reply to emails using an email address associated with their own pet breeding website. And the use of the fake shipping websites in their scams is an additional attempt to try to make their pet scams appear more legitimate, but mainly to get more money from the pet scam victim as the pet scam progresses. This will be explained further below.
If you pay any money to one of these scammers then you will usually lose the money permanently and the scammers will continue to make excuses and push you to keep sending them more and more money (for fake and fraudulent fees) that they will claim need to be paid in advance in order for you to receive delivery of the agreed so-called animal.
If someone from a website selling pets online refuses to accept a bank to bank transfer as payment for a pet and asks you to send them payment for the animal using Bitcoin or Gift Cards, Zelle, Venmo, CashApp, Xoom, Western Union, Money Gram, World Remit, or Ria Money then it is always a scam.
These scammers will also refuse to allow you to visit the pets before buying. This is another immediate indication that it is a scam. They will make fake excuses that the pets can’t be visited because of Covid or some other reason. Also, if the pet seller refuses to do a live video call with you to show you that the pet is healthy and well, and that the animal is really within their possession, then this is also always an indication that it is a scam. Thus, if one were to ask any of these scammers to provide a live video call with the proposed pet, together with its mother, and which includes a printed document in the video showing today’s date, your name, and the pets name then the scammer will always refuse because it’s a scam and they don't actually possess any real animals.
The fake shipping websites used by pet scammers are then brought into the scam once an initial sum of money has already been sent by a scam victim to the pet scammer. The shipping websites are used to make it appear that the fictitious animal has actually been shipped out to the scam victim when in fact nothing has been shipped out at all. The shipping website will also be used to eventually show the scam victim that delivery of the pet has become delayed somewhere and then the scammer will say that more fees need to be paid by the scam victim first in order to complete delivery of the animal. If the scam victim does send money to the scammer a second time then the scammer will continue to use the fake shipping website to show additional shipping problems along the delivery route in order to try to get the scam victim to continue sending more and more money to the scammer. The requests for more money by the scammer will continue until eventually the scam victim becomes frustrated, angry and/or unwilling to send any additional money to the scammer. That’s when the scam finally ends.
Most of these scammers are located in Cameroon, South Africa and a few are in other parts of West Africa, India, and Eastern Europe. But they usually say they are located somewhere within the United States, Canada, Australia, or the United Kingdom. In some rare cases the scammers will also provide their real contact phone numbers starting with numbers like +237 (Cameroon) or +27 (South Africa), which is a clear indication that they are really in Africa. But most of the scammers provide USA telephone numbers that they have obtained for free by using VOIP apps such as TextNow. These free USA phone numbers then automatically forward your incoming telephone calls and text messages to the scammer’s smartphones overseas. This helps the scammers to make it appear as if they are located in the USA when they are in fact located in another country.
There are now an average of more than 50 new pet scam websites being added to the internet every day. Well over 10,000 of these fraudulent pet scam websites are already posted as a warning on the websites below. We used to document and post many of the pet scam websites here too, but there are now too many of these pet scam websites for us to continue to list them. So we now refer to the pet scam warning websites below for reference.
So if you receive an offer from a website selling pets then you should immediately do a search for that pet selling website using one or more of the following pet scam warning websites below in order to determine if it is a pet scam website. Puppyscam.com is usually the most up to date on cataloging the newest puppy scam websites and Petscams.com covers the widest variety of different types of pet scams including puppies, kittens and birds. Just use the search box on the respective websites below to search for the pet website that you are suspicious about:
In conclusion, before you ever agree to buy a pet online, or send any money to someone for a pet, ask the pet seller to engage with you in a live video call which includes you, the seller, the animal you wish to buy, and the animal’s mother all within the same video call. This will provide you with evidence that the pet seller is really in possession of the animal you would like to buy. Also, do not accept any prerecorded animal videos which might be sent to you by email or via a messaging app in lieu of a video call from a pet seller because they will usually be fake or stolen videos. And if a pet seller does not agree to a live video call for any reason then it is definitely a pet scam and you should stop communicating with them immediately.