Current Pet Scams

With online scams on the rise, please be aware of the many different types of pet scams. Many times users are lured in by a cute puppy or other pet for sale, only to find out that they have been scammed out of their money. The best way to avoid being scammed by those who are selling pets online is to educate yourself on the warning signs of a typical online pet scam. Below are listed some of the common and known scams that we see on a regular basis. If you have questions about a company, email, website or if you feel you have been scammed, please contact us at

Scammed - Buying Pets Online

The Steps of a Typical Online Pet Scam

One Buy Pets Online​ FREE PETS FOR SALE

Most pet scams begin with a buyer searching online for free / cheap pets for sale or puppies for sale.

2 Delivery of PuppyDISCOUNTED PRICE

Usually, the seller will offer to give the pet for free and then send the pet directly to them at a discounted price. Other points to look for: They almost always say they are only giving the pet away because their child passed away, that they moved for a new job and cannot provide enough attention for the animal due to work hours, or their new house won’t allow pets.

3 puppy deliveryADDITIONAL MONEY

Once committed to the sale, paperwork and delivery requesting additional money. The scammer will then say that the airline is requiring a temperature controlled crate, shipping insurance, additional paperwork or shots, etc. Sometimes, they even set up additional email accounts, websites, etc to look like an airline or shipping company. This is all part of the scam!! They will even try to convince you that if you do not send them additional money they will report you for animal abandonment to the authorities.

Search our list of known emails of pet scammers and websites before purchasing your pet.

Examples of a current pet scam emails:

Example Pet Scam EmailPet Scam Email ExampleExample of Pet Scam Email Requesting More Money and Pet Insurance

EU Pet Passport Fraud

Scammers are now transporting pets from Eastern Europe to Western Europe using false/illegal microchips.

In some cases, although the number of vaccines required are listed, they are finding upon closer inspection of the documents that the batch may be expired or the dates do not match with the actual age of the pet. You can check if a microchip is legitimate on this website:

Teacup Breeds

Teacup Puppy ScamMishandling of Teacup Breeds

There has been a reported increase in the teacup breeds being shipped worldwide.
While some are legitimate, there are many pets that are being intentionally removed from the mother’s womb early to restrict its size. This results in the very small, teacup breeds. Although the paperwork and veterinary processes may have been followed, the pet should not have been treated when it was, as it really isn’t physically the correct age. Please choose your teacup puppy carefully.

Fake Airlines

Scammers are now copying Airlines websites, images, logos, emails, etc. to scam people out of additional money when they are selling/shipping puppies. Once you make arrangements with the fake shipper/seller, you then will receive an email from the “airline” they are shipping your animal on saying that you need to send more money for missing paperwork, shots, improper kennel, required pet insurance etc. The scammer will even set up a new email address, usually using part of the Airline name. (Example: , , , etc.)

Earlier this year Delta Air Lines filed a lawsuit against a fraudulent pet transport website that portrayed themselves as part of Delta. You can read about this scam here:


More than ever, scammers are copying legitimate IPATA members’ websites, including IPATA logo’s, member logos and of course much of the wording and even the testimonials. If a website indicates that they are a member of IPATA, please look up their company name on our website. If you cannot find the company listed, please send an email to to confirm whether they are a member or not.

IPATA Pet Shipper Scam Example 1IPATA Scam example 2

Scammers are also using fake IPATA email addresses in their pet delivery emails to convince you that the shipment is legitimate. IPATA does not have any email addresses with other domain names. If you see any emails like the following, it is a scam!
Examples: , , ,

Search our list of known emails of pet scammers and websites before purchasing your pet.

Holiday Pet Scams Warning

Holiday Pet Scams a Concern For Families Worldwide

Many families purchase or adopt a pet during the holiday season. Before you do, please read these tips so you do not become victim to a pet scam. The International Pet and Animal Transportation Association, the non-profit, worldwide trade association for professional pet shippers, collaborated with the Better Business Bureau earlier this year on an investigative report they conducted into the rising number of pet scams. Read the full report here.

According to the report, “The simple truth is that the best way to avoid a fraud is to inspect the pet yourself by arranging to meet with the prospective seller in person. Most legitimate breeders will welcome the visit. There is no good way to be sure you are not dealing with a fraud if you have no direct in person contact with the seller.”

Read Holiday Pet Scams a Concern For Families Worldwide IPATA Press Release here.

Report Pet Scammers

Many of our reported scams come from those who have been scammed. If you have been scammed while purchasing an animal online please report to and other trusted sources.

These reports are collected and posted in our list of known emails of pet scammers and websites.