Indiana News

Online pet scams on the rise, Indiana attorney general says

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Anyone thinking of buying a pet for the holidays might want to think twice about getting one online.

The Indiana attorney general is warning online pet adoption scams are on the rise.

More families are getting scammed online trying to find a new pet to have during the coronavirus quarantine. Roxie Randall, senior animal care technician with Indianapolis Animal Care Services, said it has seen an increase in people adopting pets during the pandemic. According to the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, so have online scammers. The office said it’s gotten complaints from people who paid money for animals they found online but never received.

“I think it would be very devastating and you would also be very angry,” Randall said.

The Better Business Bureau said the reported pet scams this year are nearly five times as many compared to 2017. They said victims are losing an average of $100 to $1,000.

Jenna Yeater hopes to adopt a dog for Christmas from Indianapolis Animal Care Services. She said she would never consider buying a dog online.

“We needed to know how the pet interacted with us. So, I couldn’t imagine giving money to somebody not even having a pet yet,” Yeater said.

Scammers are using the pandemic as an excuse for not letting the victims see the pet in person. The Attorney General’s Office said anyone still thinking of buying a pet online consider these tips: Meet the pet in person or virtually, never pay any fees to obtain an animal you have not seen with your own eyes, don’t pay using wire transfers or gift cards, and buy from local animal shelters.

“I would encourage you to do your research. If the deal sounds to good to be true, it probably is. If there is no option to meet the animal in person, that’s probably a red flag,” Randall said.