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Better Business Bureau projects more than $3M in pet scams in 2020

Last Updated Dec 2, 2020 at 4:26 pm MDT


CALGARY (660 NEWS) — With the majority of us shopping online nowadays during the COVID-19 pandemic, scammers have also moved their tactics to the web as well.

A recent report shows a large spike in scams being reported from Jan. 1 to Nov. 30 this year across North America and projects more than $3 million lost in scams.

“We’ve seen close to 4,000 reports of people saying they’ve encountered a scam and that is close to $3 million in losses already and we haven’t ended the year,” Shawna-Kay Thomas, communications specialist with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) said.

It is a big increase compared to 2019 when under 2,000 cases were reported to just over $1 million in money being lost.

Scammers are also using the pandemic to their advantage.

“They will tell a potential buyer that they cannot come to view the pet and they also tell you that you need to pay for a vaccine or you need to pay for a kind of crate for the pet to be transported in. They will give you excuses based on the pandemic in order for you to pay more money,” Thomas said.

But she says we need to do our research beforehand and if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is a scam.

“(If) the seller says that, ‘You are not able to see the pet, you can’t come in person to view the pet.’ We know it’s a pandemic, we know we’re practising physical distancing and you can do that safely seeing the pet face-to-face. But you can also ask for a video call and if those are rejected then that’s a big red flag that you are dealing with a potential scammer,” she added.

Checking with your local shelter first is always the safer option before buying online through a website or person you don’t know.

If you have been a victim of a scam you can report it to the BBB scam tracker online.