How To Avoid “Pet-Related” Holiday Scams.

Attorney General Ashley Moody is offering advice on how to safeguard against pet-related holiday scams.

“This is the time of year when families will often welcome new pets into their homes. Sadly, these families can be taken advantage of by fraudsters who trick them into paying for a pet that is never delivered, or worse, deathly ill. If you plan to give or adopt a pet this holiday season, take steps to ensure you are getting exactly what you pay for,” Moody said in a news release Wednesday.

Below are tips for avoiding pet scams this holiday season:

  • Research a seller before buying any pet advertised in print or online
  • Never wire money to someone before being able to see the animal in person
  • Beware of pet images that look like stock photos—perfectly posed or where the animal does not look real. Conduct an online image search of the photo to see if it is posted elsewhere
  • Try to physically visit the pet before buying it
  • Ask for the pet’s breeder information, including address and USDA license number, if any
  • Request veterinary paperwork of the animal and get the veterinarian’s contact information to confirm the animal’s health
  • Have your veterinarian check your new pet immediately after purchase for any illness that would make the pet unfit for sale. If your veterinarian determines that the pet should not have been sold, notify the seller immediately and provide the veterinarian’s unfit for sale note

Keep the following records when buying a pet: