Chicago, IL – February 21, 2012 – Having a pet go missing is
a devastating experience. When conniving people find ways to capitalize on your
lost pet situation in order to scam you out of money, the loss is even more heartbreaking.
The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois (BBB) is
alerting consumers about scammers defrauding pet owners who advertise a lost
“It can be an emotionally-charged
time for people looking for their lost pet,” said
Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois. “Concern and worry can make falling victim to savvy
The following are common pet scam
Scam: The pet owner receives a phone call from a person
claiming they have the lost pet in their possession. This person asks that the
reward money be sent to them before the pet is returned. If the pet owner
refuses, they will often threaten to hurt the pet in order to pressure the owner
into sending money. Once the scammer receives the money, they may never be heard
Driver Scam: Someone claiming to be a long-haul truck driver
tells you that they came across your pet while on route. They then ask for money
so that they can send your pet back to you, or may ask you to wire money to
board your pet until they can send your pet back with another truck driver
heading your way.
Team Scam: An owner receives a call from someone who says
they think they have your pet. After talking to you for a while and getting information
about your pet, they apologize and say they're sorry, but it turns out it's not
your pet after all. They then give all the information about your pet to a
partner. The scammer uses the information
received about your pet only to have a second person call and claim to have found
your pet who will try collecting any reward money in advance.
Ticket Scam: Someone calls and claims your pet ended up in
another state or province. They ask you to send money for a kennel and an
airline ticket to ship your pet back. Once the pet owner sends the money, the
scammer walks away leaving the owner without their pet and less money in their
provides the tips to prevent falling victim to a missing pet scam:
1. If you must place an ad, include only essential
information. Refrain from providing too much information about unique markings
or physical attributes.
2. If you get a call from someone who
claims to be out-of-state, ask them for a phone number where you can call them back.
Scammers typically do not want you to know any of their personal information.
3. If a caller claims to have your pet in
their possession, ask them to describe something about the pet that wouldn’t be
visible in pictures which may have been posted.
4. Never wire money to anyone you don’t know. This is a
common thread in many types of scams.
pet owners have also had their pets micro chipped. This preventive measure has
proven to be effective in bringing lost pets home.
more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to www.bbb.org
As a private, non-profit
organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an
ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of
conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims,
online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and
issue reports on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage
people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.