How to Spot a Dog Adoption Scam

How to Spot a Dog Adoption Scam
How to Spot a Dog Adoption Scam
suspicious man holding dog how to spot a dog scam
suspicious man holding dog how to spot a dog scam

(Photo credit: miodrag ignjatovic / Getty Images)

Dog adoption scams have become a growing concern in recent years as more people look to add furry friends to their families. These scams can be financially and emotionally devastating for those who fall victim to them. Unfortunately, with the rise of online pet adoption websites, it’s become increasingly easy for scammers to trick unsuspecting individuals. Spotting a dog adoption scam can be challenging because scammers use sophisticated tactics to gain your trust. Then, they persuade you to part with your money.

You have to be proactive to protect yourself. We’ll share the common signs of a dog adoption scam. Also, we’ll also provide tips on how to avoid becoming a victim. Finally, we’ll describe what the adoption process should look like. By following these guidelines, you can avoid the heartbreak of falling prey to a dog adoption scam. It’s a long journey, but in the end, you’ll have a new family member to love.

Financial red flags of a dog adoption scam

A big red flag of a dog adoption scam is a request for payment before adoption. Legitimate rescue organizations will typically ask for an adoption fee upon completion of the adoption. Scammers will often demand payment upfront. They might claim payment is necessary to cover medical expenses or transportation costs. If someone asks for payment before you’ve had the chance to meet the dog or complete an application, it’s likely a scam.

High adoption fees, particularly those much higher than your area’s typical adoption fee, can also be a red flag. Unless you are purchasing a purebred puppy from a breeder, an adoption fee shouldn’t be over $800. In fact, many rescues charge half that. Scammers often use high fees to convince you that the dog is rare or in high demand, hoping to pressure you into paying.

Finally, scammers may request payment in cash, wire transfer, or gift cards. These payment methods are often untraceable, making it difficult or impossible to recover your money if you are the victim of a scam. Legitimate rescues will typically accept credit card payments or other secure methods.

Scammers don’t screen

Scammers may also put pressure on you to adopt quickly without proper screening. A legitimate rescue will want to ensure that you and the dog are a good match. Often, it’s an in-depth process that involves an application, a home visit, and a meet-and-greet. Scammers, on the other hand, may be eager to rush through the process, hoping to close the deal before you have a chance to realize it’s a scam.

Another sign of a dog adoption scam is a lack of information about the dog or the rescue organization. Legitimate rescues will be happy to answer questions and provide credentials. They should also be willing to answer questions about the dog’s health, temperament, and background. If you’re struggling to get information, it may be a sign of a scam.

Unusual or suspicious behavior from the seller or rescue can also be a sign of a dog adoption scam. For example, they may avoid meeting in person. They may also refuse to provide contact information or photos. Finally, they will insist on communicating solely via text or email. This behavior may be an attempt to avoid being identified or traced.

How to avoid being the victim of a scam

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from dog adoption scams. First, do a reverse image search of the dog’s photo using Google or another search engine. A quick search can help you determine if the picture appears in multiple ads or if it’s a stock photo, a common tactic scammers use.

It’s also essential to check the organization’s credentials and certifications. Look for a legitimate website and social media presence. Research their history and reviews. Find information about their registration with a local animal welfare organization or the Better Business Bureau if possible.

When meeting the seller or rescue and the dog, always do so in a public place. Meeting in public ensures your safety and allows you to observe the dog’s behavior in a neutral setting. Ask to see the dog’s medical records. Also, request other relevant paperwork, such as their vaccination history or microchip information.

Avoid out-of-state adoption scenarios where a rescue or seller ships the dog to you. While legitimate long-distance adoptions exist, it’s generally best to adopt locally. That way, you can meet the dog and seller or rescue in person and avoid the potential risks of long-distance adoption.

Finally, be wary of anyone who pressures you to adopt quickly or demands payment before you can complete the adoption process. Take your time, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to walk away if something doesn’t feel right. By being vigilant and following these guidelines, you can significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to a dog adoption scam.

What a safe adoption process looks like

So you found a legitimate rescue or seller with a dog that’s a good fit for your family? Great! Now, schedule an interview with the rescue or foster to learn more about the dog’s personality, behavior, and history. An interview can help you determine if the dog will be a good match for your lifestyle and household.

Meet the dog in person to ensure that you and the dog are a good match. Also, ask for and review the dog’s health records. You should have vaccination history and information on any medical conditions or treatments they may have received.

Before completing the adoption, it’s essential to have a written contract that outlines the terms and conditions of the adoption. The contract should include details such as the dog’s medical history, behavioral issues, and the adoption fee. Be sure to review the agreement carefully and ask any questions you may have before signing.

Finally, use a form of payment that offers protection in the event of a scam, like a credit card. That way, you can dispute charges if necessary.

By being thorough and vigilant throughout the adoption process, you can have a safe and successful adoption and provide a loving home to a deserving dog.

More on dog adoption

If you’re ready to find your next canine companion, check out our guides to choosing a shelter versus a rescue and how to prepare for your pup’s homecoming with the 3-3-3 rule.

ChatGPT assisted in the creation of this article.

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