In this day and age technology is absolutely amazing! You can do all sorts of fantastic things on the internet like shopping for cars, buying your groceries, or even adopting a new pet! Unfortunately, there are people out there that will use technology for nefarious means and attempt to take advantage of you: SCAMMERS! As much as we wish it weren’t true, Get Your Pet does occasionally experience users who make fake profiles. While we’re working to make it harder for these people to join the site, there’s things that you can do right now to protect yourself!
Scammers on Get Your Pet?
Yes, unfortunately they exist on nearly any website you use. They’re sneaky and clever and sometimes use programs that allow them to get past filters that would otherwise not let them join our site. We know that it sounds scary, but there are ways to tell whether the person you’re dealing with is really looking to rehome their pet or not! Keeping your eyes open and recognizing the signs will help you to single these scammers out and also help us to ban them before they’re able to trick anyone else.
So first off, let’s talk about the Red Flags of a scammer!
How To Spot A Scammer: The Red Flags
1. Their Pet Profile Picture
The first thing you’ll notice about anyone is their pet profile pictures. Scammers like to use the cutest pictures of the most desirable dogs and cats. They also tend to use the most sought after or high dollar breeds. These pictures are usually very easy to spot because it will make you think, “Someone is rehoming this pet for FREE?” Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it usually is! Here are a few examples of pictures that scammers commonly use on the site:
See how all of these pictures are for extremely cute dogs? Any real person would expect to be paid thousands of dollars for these breeds, so why would anyone be rehoming them for free on a website? Of course, there are tons of other pictures that scammers use and not all of them are obvious scams. Don’t worry, there’s more ways to spot a scammer.
2. High Dollar Breeds
Speaking of breeds, scammers usually use high dollar breeds! Think of the types of dogs and cats you can only get from a breeder for thousands of dollars. They want their pet profile to look as appealing as possible so that they can lure in as many people as quickly as they can. A list of breeds that they typically like to use are:
- French Bulldogs
- Golden Retrievers (Especially puppies)
- Yorkshire Terrier
- ANY tea cup dogs
- Bengal Cats
- Serval Cats
- Ragdoll Cats
- Maine Coon Cats
3. How They Write
Another big red flag is the language someone uses in their pet profile and their messages with you. A lot of the times the description they put on their profile is relatively short and has tons of typos or grammatical errors. For instance, look at this description from a scam profile we found:
“Yea she’s a friendly and also active house trained also she loves to mingle with other pups and other animals.”
Notice how this description is very short, it doesn’t tell much about the dog and it isn’t written very well. Now, this isn’t always a foolproof indicator of a scammer because some people just tend to type like this on the internet. If you’re unsure, you can try sending them a message and see how they respond to you through the on-site messaging system.
Now that you’re messaging them, there are tons of other red flags that you can look out for. Still, you can pay attention to how they write. If they seem eager to get you to agree to adopting without giving you much information about the pet, that’s a pretty big indicator too. Again, if there’s a lot of typos and grammatical errors, that could be a sign.
One of the biggest signs of a scammer at this point though is…
4. Trying To Get You Off The Site
The messaging system on our site can easily be monitored by an admin, so when we see something that is fishy, we take action quickly. Scammers know this, so they want to get you to where we can’t see and can’t protect you. They’ll immediately ask you for your email address or your phone number because it’s “easier to contact you that way”. It’s never a good idea to give out your contact info to someone unless you are very sure they are legitimate. This is why we don’t allow contact information to be shared in our messaging system until after you schedule a meet-up with someone. Scammers will typically get around this by writing out their number like: five 5 five seven 0 three 9 or their emails like: scammer (at) gmail (dot) com.
If someone wants you to move to a location off the site like emails, text, WhatsApp, or even facebook or instagram, just politely inform them that you wish to stay on Get Your Pet for your safety. If they continue to press the issue, then they are either scammers or not worth your time.
Finally, there’s the biggest indicator of all…
5. Asking You For Money
When a Guardian joins our site and lists their pet to rehome, they agree to our terms of service. Part of our terms is that we allow them to use our service completely free of charge and in exchange, they are not allowed to ask for rehoming fees or money of any kind. Our platform is for rehoming pets, not for selling pets. The only fee that you as an adopter will pay is the Adoption Fee: $199 for dogs and $49 for cats. This fee is paid through the website itself after a successful meet-up with the Guardian. The fee is NOT paid in person or through any third party services.
Often times, Scammers will give you excuses as to why you need to pay them. The biggest excuses are:
- They have to pay money to their vet to get the vet documents
- They need gas money to come meet you
- They have a delivery fee to deliver the pet to you
- They have a rehoming fee because their pet is expensive
They typically want you to pay them through third party services such as Zelle or Cashapp. When you do this, there’s NO WAY for us to refund you or help you get your money back. Paying on our website, you go through our own payment servers where we can monitor transactions and make refunds if need be.
So now that you know all the red flags, what can you do? Well…
How Do I Report A Scammer?
Let’s say you’re pretty positive you’re dealing with a scammer, so what do you do? Obviously the first thing you should do is stop engaging with them. Next, you should then let us know about them so that we can disable their account. There’s several ways you can go about doing this!
- You can fill out a contact form: Click here to go to that page. Be sure to either send us the URL of their pet profile or give us the Guardian’s name as well as their Pet’s name so that we can look them up and find them.
- You can email us their information at either: [email protected] or [email protected]
The quicker you let us know about potential scammers, the less people will be affected by them!
I Was Scammed! What Can I Do?
Unfortunately it does happen that a scammer is clever enough to get ahold of your money. So what can you do about it? First and foremost, you should immediately contact your financial institution about canceling the transaction.
- If you did the transaction through Zelle, check out their contact page here.
- If you did the transaction through Cashapp, check out their contact page here.
- If your transaction was done through other means, try looking for contact information on their websites.
The quicker you take care of this, the more likely it will be for you to get your money back. After contacting them, please contact us and let us know about the scammer. We want to make sure that no one else gets scammed!
We know that it’s frustrating and disheartening that these types of people manage to make profiles on our site. Please believe us when we say that we are trying to work on new ways to deter and block them from the platform. We hear your comments and your feedback about the situation and we want them gone just as much as you! If you have any questions about our Adoption Process and the best way to go about it, please check out the following guides and tips:
How To Adopt A Pet: Step by Step
Also, remember you can feel free to email us any time and we will get back to you with an answer as quick as we can!