CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — There are few things more gratifying than seeing a friend or family member's expression when they realize they're getting a pet for Christmas.
In today's Protecting Your Money segment, we have some tips for you so you don't get scammed.
How big of a problem are scams when it comes to buying pets online?
The better Business Bureau reports they've received more than 330 cases just in November of this year. They had 77 cases in November 2019.
The reason is pretty obvious. It's the pandemic, according to Katie Galan with the BBB.
"Scammers are aware that people are staying home. People have more time. A lot of people are thinking about getting pets now because you're home. You have more time to train your pets. Some people might live alone. They feel lonely especially with the restrictions, not being able to visit a lot of people right now."
Some tips to protect yourself:
1. INSIST ON AN IN-PERSON VISIT WITH SELLER AND PET.
If the seller lives outside the United States, you probably want to find someone else. If an in-person visit can't be arranged, ask for pictures of the pet.
2. MAKE SURE THE SELLER CAN PROVIDE ALL PAPERWORK.
All immunization records.
What vet does the seller use for the pet you're buying ?
If it's a pure breed, ask who the breeder is, and for the breeders' registration documentation.
3. ONLY PAY WITH A CREDIT CARD
The average scam can set you back at least $750.00. Sometimes more.
Credit card companies are generally more willing to give you a refund, and chase the scammers themselves.
4. REPORT SCAMS TO LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT, THE FTC, BBB.ORG/SCAM TRACKER
Report scams to local law enforcement, the Federal Trade Commission, and the BBB's Scam Tracker.
5. LOOK FOR A NEW PET AT ONE OF SEVERAL LOCAL SHELTERS
Check with local shelters like PeeWee's Pet Adoption, Gulf Coast Humane Society, Animal Care, to name just a few. They'd love nothing better than to see you take one of their pets and give it a forever loving home.