Pet sale scams on the rise

(ABC 6 News) – You can find just about anything online, including your family’s new furry friend. But you can also find scams involving those cute puppy dogs or cuddly kittens.

While pet scams aren’t new, they have gained traction in recent years, especially during the first several months of the pandemic.

In fact, the Better Business Bureau’s 2021 Scam Tracker Risk Report found that so-called puppy scams topped the list of products most used to perpetrate online purchase scams.

In 2020, the BBB received 4,300 complaints about online pet scams, an increase of 129% from the 1,870 complaints received in 2019.

The Iowa Attorney General’s office says that fraudulent animal sales can take on many forms, but the most common include animals that never materialize after paying hundreds of dollars or pets with a myriad of health problems including requiring expensive medical visits, tests and, heartbreakingly, the need to be euthanized. Both types of scams have been reported to the Iowa’s AG office.

In June, the AARP reported on the case of an alleged years-long online pet scam affecting people in several states, including Iowa.

If you believe you’ve encountered an online pet scam, you are encouraged to report it through, a law enforcement reporting website operated jointly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center.  

To view some tips from the Federal Trade Commission to ensure you don’t end up on the wrong side of a pet scam, CLICK HERE.