Pet adoptions have increased significantly during the coronavirus pandemic. And alongside the adoption rates, scams have also increased, according to data from Honest Paws.

Source: 6abc Philadelphia/Youtube

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According to Honest Paws, scams are up significantly, with 2,400 complaints lodged with the Better Business Bureau between April and September 2020, an increase of 280%. As people get excited about adding a pet to their family, they can easily fall victim to people wanting to take advantage.

The increase in demand for puppies and other pets means that scammers are taking advantage.

Honest Paws spoke to three victims of puppy scams, and they warned about these common red flags:

1. The seller claims that due to social distancing regulations, you will not be able to see the animal in person before adoption and/or is unable to provide you with multiple pictures/videos of the puppy up for adoption.

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2. When performing an internet search of a picture of the puppy you’re considering, you notice the same picture appears on multiple websites or in Facebook groups. You can use Google’s helpful ‘reverse image’ tool to find instances where the picture is being used elsewhere on the internet.

3. When performing an internet search for the text from ads or testimonials on a breeder’s website or ad, you notice they’ve been copied from other websites.

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4. The breeder’s website offers no information about the sire or dam of the litter and/or is unable to provide proof of health records or AKC Certification.

5. The seller asks for payment upfront through Western Union, MoneyGram, a digital money app like Zelle or CashApp, or via a gift card.

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6. In the case of purebred breeds, the puppy in question is being offered at a significantly steep discount when compared with the average price for a puppy of its breed.

7. The seller or a third party asks for payment to cover additional items such as a climate-controlled crate for shipping, vaccinations, or transportation insurance/life insurance. In many cases, fraudulent emails will claim the shipping costs/crate rental feels will be refunded upon the puppy’s delivery. However, they never are.

8. The adoption contract contains multiple spelling or grammatical errors.

Watch for these red flags if you’re in the process of getting a new pet!

We encourage everyone thinking of getting a pet to only adopt instead of shopping. Read more resources about adopting animals on One Green Planet, including 7 Reasons to Adopt Your Next Furry Best Friend, 5 Reasons Why Everyone Should Adopt a Pet, and These Heartwarming Before and After Pictures of Adopted Rescue Animals Will Make Your Day! Read tips for pet adoptions and what to consider before adopting an animal. We recommend using these apps to find shelter dogs near you!

Sign this pledge to adopt, not shop!

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