Live 5 Scambusters: BBB warns about two pet-related scams

Updated: May. 28, 2020 at 2:30 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Whether you're shopping for a new pet or trying to make extra cash pet sitting, the Better Business Bureau says scammers are on the prowl.

The BBB says it’s seen a rise in a pet-related scam that typically spikes around the holidays. The BBB scam tracker shows more than 850 puppy-related scams across the country since the start of March. The victims report losses ranging from hundreds up thousands of dollars.

Victims are typically drawn in by websites that appear legitimate, selling dogs for prices well below the market value. The websites offer to ship the puppy to you and will accept cash payment by Western Union or MoneyGram. They may also encourage you to pay with a gift card. These should all be red flags.

The BBB says victims pay for the dog to be shipped but will eventually be asked to pay more because of problems with shipping or vaccinations. In recent reports, scammers have even used the coronavirus pandemic to get more money, claiming the dog has been forced into quarantine because of COVID-19.

The BBB also put out a warning about scams targeting people interested in pet sitting. If you post your services online, the BBB says to be careful when it comes to potential clients in urgent need of help. These clients will get your contact information and send a payment for more than the negotiated amount.

You’ll be encouraged to deposit the check, keep your payment and send the rest back. This is standard procedure in check fraud scams. The check is almost certainly a fake and the bank will hold you responsible for any overdraft charges. You’re also out of the money you sent back to the scammer.

You can report these scams to the BBB Scam Tracker.

If you have a scam story to share, email Kyle Jordan at

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