Looking for a pet online? Don't get scammed!
Pet scam criminals often use free websites, Craig’s List, local newspapers, or facebook to advertise pets that do not exist. Expensive animals, like Bulldogs or toy breeds, are offered at very low prices. Animals are offered up for adoption at no cost—all you have to do is pay for the shipping. If you see an ad like this, chances are it is a scam.
These scammers are criminals. Their goal is to take your money. They will lie, they will tell you sob stories, they will send you pictures of adorable animals, they will assure you of their faith and religion - anything to get your money! They use the names of legitimate pet shippers; they pirate websites; they illegally use logos of other companies. If you see an offer that is too good to be true, it probably is. It probably is a scam!
IPATA is a trade association. Our members are professional pet shippers located in more than 80 countries around the world. Our members ship pets under their own company names. IPATA does not ship pets, and there is no pet shipping company with “ipata” in the name. If you see a company using our name, please report it to us right away: .
|The Scam Advertiser/Shipper may...|
- Do an online search (Bing, Google, AOL, etc.) for the email address of the advertiser. Scammers often place ads on several free sites or locations. If you find multiple ads, it is most likely a scam.
- Try to make arrangements to pick the animal up yourself, saying you will fly to wherever the animal is. If they can’t make those arrangements, it is probably a scam.
- Do an online search on part of the text used in the email you receive from the shipper. Especially search for their introduction or information about the company.
- Do not make any payments through Western Union, MoneyGram, or similar services. Once this payment leaves your hands, there is no recourse for recovery or refund.
- Ask for the name and contact information of the “shipper” the advertiser plans to use.
- If they claim to be a member of IPATA, you can easily check on that by using our “Find a Pet Shipper” page. On occasion, there are new members that are not listed on the IPATA online directory. If you have questions, the only way to confirm a companies membership in IPATA is to contact IPATA directly.
- Stop contact with the scammer; simply ignore their email or telephone calls or block them.
- File a report with your local law enforcement and with your local FBI or equivalent office.
- File a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center: www.ic3.gov. This agency is a collaborative effort among several law enforcement agencies who use criminal email addresses and websites to track these, and hopefully, apprehend these criminals.
- Contact the publication or site where you saw the ad. Let them know that this advertiser is a scammer, give them the email address of the scammer, and ask them to remove the ad(s) and to blacklist this person.
- Talk with a manager at the MoneyGram or Western Union office you used to send the money. Be sure to take a copy of the emails with all the telephone numbers, names, email addresses, etc. of the scammers.
- If you used Western Union, forward the copy of the email with the scammers recipient information to Ask them to publish information about the scam by contacting:
- If you used MoneyGram, call: 1-(800)-MoneyGram. Ask them to release information about the scam by contacting: 214-303-9923 or
- Do an online search for the advertiser’s email address. If you find the ad on other publications, let the site know about your experience so they can remove the ad or blacklist the advertiser.
- Forward only one email you received from the advertiser and only one email you received from the scam shipper to . They will be added to the IPATA Scam Alert List.
|Report Scams to…|
|petsonthenet.co.nz/scam (For New Zealand Only)|
|terrificpets.com/scams/ (listed scammers email addresses)|