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Consumer advocates warn of ongoing pandemic pet scams

Published: Feb. 11, 2021 at 3:07 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The COVID-19 pandemic has been a prime time to adopt or purchase a pet. It’s been a way to fill that void, so many experienced during that prolonged isolation at home.

The good news is that shelters across the country, including Alaska, had a major jump in adoptions during that time. At the same time, breeders were also reporting a jump in sales which led to a shortage of available animals to buy and adopt.

“So scammers follow what’s happening, all the trends, and they are now doing animal scams,” warns AARP State Director Teresa Holt.

AARP and other consumer advocates are warning about the growing number of fake, but convincing, websites. Some of them are posting actual photos, and even the certification from legitimate breeders, on bogus websites.

“And so people will go online, they find an animal that they like, pay the $700 or $1,000 for that animal and then the animal never comes,” says Holt.

That’s why Anchorage Animal Care and Control also stresses the importance of sticking to local, reputable sources, whether for adoption or purchase.

“The advantage to that is that you also can talk to friends and family who have adopted and find out who did you adopt, did you have a good experience with them?” says AACC Spokesperson Laura Atwood.

While Atwood is a strong advocate for adoption first, she tells us, “With that said there are many responsible breeders out there so we just ask people to do their research to be as familiar as they can with who they are purchasing from or adopting from and how the animals are treated in that person’s or organization’s care.”

These tips are to make sure the right pet is fit for a family, while also making sure it’s an animal that actually exists and not just a thief’s attempt to steal money or anyone’s identity.

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