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Pet scams spike during the pandemic

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The age of COVID-19 has forced millions to deal with having more time on their hands. So what better way to spend that spare time than with a new companion.

According to the BBB, adoption rates have soared during the pandemic, but so have pet scams. Since March, the BBB said there has been high numbers of online pet scams.

In response, the BBB has offered KWWL a list of red flags to look out for, if you're in the market for a furry companion.

The most notable red flags are:

  • faulty websites
  • low cost for purebreds
  • asked to send payment through Zelle or Cashapp
  • demand extra fees for air fare or special carriers

BBB Regional Director of Eastern Iowa, Bobby Hansen, said scammers have also demanded fees for COVID-19 vaccinations.

"One thing that came out of that, the animal needed a special Coronavirus vaccinations before they can be shipped, which is like non existent," Hansen said, "but people fall for this because they're lonely, they get their hearts set on getting an animal and they'll do whatever it takes."

These red flags may seem obvious, Hansen said buyers fall for it all the time.

"It's an emotional purchase and that's what con artists, they want too get you in an emotional situation, and then they take advantage of you, and the money's gone."

Here are some of the BBB's biggest tips for adopting:

But if you do adopt online, Hansen said the best thing you can do is use your your credit card.

"Now you have recourse, you can go back to your credit card company and dispute this if you put four hundred dollars onto that credit card and the dog never showed up," Hansen said, "your credit card company will work with you and put a stop on that charge."

The BBB knows people want puppies or dogs during this time,
but they urge people to take the time for research, and to adopt locally if they can.

To find out if a website is real or a scam click here.

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Alaina Kwan

Morning Reporter

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