TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - They're cute, cuddly, and loveable and now they're being used to tug at your heartstrings while scammers pick your pockets.
A lot of people are turning to pets to provide some comfort as they're stuck at home due to the pandemic. Scammers are opportunists so they're using the demand for rescue animals to pose as shelters and people trying to rehome their pets.
The scam works like this. You go online looking for a rescue animal. You find one at a shelter or you find a person desperate to rehome their pet because they can no longer care for it. In this scenario, the person shares a sad story about why they can't take care of the animal. They don't ask you to pay for the pet. Instead, they ask for a deposit to hold the animal, pay to send the pet to you or cover emergency vet bills. You may pay with an app, a prepaid debit card, or a gift card. Now it's time to get the pet but when you show up to the shelter you find out it's a fake address or the pet is never sent to you and you never hear from the person again.
In reality, that pet never existed.
Better Business Bureau President Tim Maniscalo says, "If you can physically, actually see the animal, that type of thing, that's what we always recommend before you go an adopt any sort of animal."
You can also search for the image of the pet online. Also, don't use money transfer apps with people you don't actually know.