Unfortunately, we now live in an age where online kitten sales have become rampant with scammers. Individuals will often have a very nice website with glowing testimonials, offer MUCH lower prices, have no or very little online/social media presence, accept only wire transfers for payment and ask for complete payment upfront, will never allow kitten pick up from the cattery, will never speak to you on the phone, and will never be able to provide actual personal or vet references. These are just some of the examples to watch out for in online kitten scams.
TO PET BUYERS-Some common RED FLAGS
- A website has a whole load of kittens for sale CHEAP
- In many cases, the fraudulent websites will not have the personal name of the breeder (s) or the location of the cattery listed on the website
- Backdrops in Photos Are All Different
- No Parents or Adults Shown on the Website
- Lack of Social Media Presence
- They create a sense of urgency wanting full payment upfront
- If they only take a Western Union transfer or other wire transfers, Zelle, or gift cards for payment
- If they cannot provide personal or vet references
The International Cat Association has a great website on how to spot online kitten scammers; Buyer Beware (tica.org) Some excerpts from this blog;
Here are some tips on how to research a cattery that you’re interested in:
● Don’t Buy on Impulse. Take the time to get to know the breeder and their cats. Follow them on social media
for a while to see the interaction and responses between them and their followers.
● Verify that they are a registered cattery.
● Verify that the kitten is in the possession of the breeder by asking for photos or videos of the kittens, with a piece of paper with the current date and your name written on it.
For more information on pet scams, here are a few websites to help;
Fighting Online Puppy and other Pet Scams – Petscams.com
Avoid Pet Scams and Safely Purchase Animals Online (aarp.org)
BBB Study: Puppy Scams Full Study