Friday, February 24, 2012

Scammers play on emotions of pet lovers

blog 2-24-12 tlp
Possibly the most heartless of all, conmen play on the emotions of pet owners, and the Better Business Bureau has issued a warning detailing some of the more common pet-related con-games perpetrated on animal lover.

"Having a pet go missing is a devastating experience," according to a statement released by the Better Business Bureau. "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."

Common cons run by the pet de-frauders
  • Pay-me-first 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 from again.
  • Truck 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.
  • Tag 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.
  • Airline 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 bank account.
And here are some tips to protect yourself
  • If you must place an ad, include only essential information. Refrain from providing too much information about unique markings or physical attributes.  
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • Never wire money to anyone you don't know. This is a common thread in many types of scams.

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