How to Spot Online Kitten Scams


Expensive animals, like pedigreed cats, are offered at incredibly low prices. Animals are offered up for adoption at no cost—all you must 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.


THE HOOK

The scammer will offer pets for sale or adoption. These scammers will create a custom website and advertise on Facebook, CraigsList, TradingPost and any other classified ad websites. They will interact with you by mail, SMS or phone to convince you that they have a pet to sell or give away. The aim here is to get the intended victim emotionally invested in a fictitious pet. When people act on emotion, they are easier to scam. A scammer can target 50 people at a time. They use a series of “canned” responses which they copy and paste when replying to you. The emails are long and verbose asking questions and answering questions you have not asked. If you ask a question that is not in their script they give a short curt answer. If the “pet” is being sold and not offered for adoption the scammer will con their victims into giving hundreds of dollars in the first part of the scam.


THE STING

You are now emotionally invested in the pet. If the pet was sold (not for adoption) you are also financially invested as well.


The scammer will create a Pet Delivery Website so that you can track the delivery of your new pet. You will be given a “tracking number” which will direct you to a webpage created and controlled by the scammer. This webpage will show you that your pet is being delivered.

A day later you will receive an email that the delivery is delayed and you must pay fees. The scammer will update the webpage created for you in order to convince you that the fees are legitimate. Fees can include:

Delivery f