Pet Scams


Scams, Schemes and other "Pet Tricks"

PLEASE do not let these scams stop you from advertising your lost pet. The more people who know that pet is is missing the better chance you have of getting your pet back. This has been proven over and over again, even when dogs have been stolen, and taken out of the area, someone will recognize the lost dog poster and report what they think might be the lost dog.

Have you ever had a lost pet? The first thing you do is call your animal shelters and place ads in the newspaper. You do ANYTHING to bring your pet home safe and sound...and these con artists know that! I have included this information to make you aware that there are people out there like this!

1. THE LOST PET SCAM. Most hoaxers use lost pet ads to contact distraught pet owners. They often choose ads that offer rewards for the return of the pet. Usually the hoaxer uses the description of the pet that was listed in the paper...and asks that the money be paid before the pet is released. If the owner refuses, they may threaten to hurt the animal. This almost always pressures the owner into paying.

2. THE TEAM SCHEME. A "set-up" person makes the initial call on a lost pet ad or flyer, talks to the owner sympathetically about the loss and pumps the owner for information about the pet. This person will usually end up saying they found a different animal...but because the owner had given them the description of the animal...the other scammer then calls back with the exact information of the animal. These crooks have a better chance of deceiving the pet owner and extorting money


3. THE "TRUCKER" SCAM. The con artist claims to be a truck driver who, while driving through the area, found the lost pet. He says that the pet needed veterinary care, which he provided, and that he needs money to send the pet back with another truck driver who will be coming through the owner's area. The scammer asks the pet owner to wire money through Western Union.

4. THE BATCHER'S PETNAPPING SCAM. With the increasing advent of legislation prohibiting the pound seizure of animals, selling black market "random-source" animals has become an increasingly profitable business in the United States. "Batchers" have become adept in gathering animals to sell to class B dealers who are licensed to supply research facilities. One way batchers supply dealers is, unfortunately, by stealing pets. These batchers steal pets off the streets and out of pet owners' yards. The pets are transported quickly across state lines to be sold at auctions and delivered to research facilities.

5. THE BATCHER'S LOST PET SCAM. The batcher's scam works a little differently than the first one. He calls the well-intentioned animal-lovers who have found lost or stray animals and placed "found" ads in the classified section of local papers. Armed with the description from the ad, a hoaxer convinces the finder that the animal belongs to him.

...and the list goes on and on. What can you do to prevent this from happening to you or your pet? First...make sure your animals are wearing collars with identification tags on them! If putting an ad in the paper...ONLY give out enough information that is necessary. Do not put the full description of the animal on it. When receiving calls...Don't ask leading questions. For example, do say: Does the dog have any markings? Don't say: Does the dog have a white spot on his tail? If you are the person who placed an ad...if they describe the animal to your satisfaction...tell them you will deliver the animal to them at their home! When you get there...ask of proof of ownership, in the form of vet records, family pictures, etc. before turning the animal over to them.

If you have any doubt...DON'T DO IT!