Consumer Alert: Pet scams skyrocket during COVID-19 pandemic


HONOLULU, Hawaii (KHON2) – The Better Business Bureau says online pet scams have tripled nationwide since the start of the pandemic.

The BBB received over 1,600 pet scams since March compared to 583 during the same time period last year.

According to the BBB, about $3,000 have been lost locally.

“So people would go online and they would purchase this puppy,” said Roseann Freitas, the BBB Hawaii Marketplace Manager. “They send the money that was needed to be sent and then they get caught up in this hook of, ‘okay we’re going to send the dog’ and then something will come up.”

Victims are often told to wire money for insurance and even a non-existent COVID-19 vaccine for the pet.

“What they keep doing is they keep trying to milk you for more and more money until you realize you’re never going to get the dog.”

To avoid falling for a pet scam, the BBB suggests doing your research before making an payments.

“Go check, is this a licensed business, are they registered, which a lot of them aren’t and we know that. You still want to make sure this breeder is reputable, not only as a business, but also a reputable breeder taking care of the dogs.”

Also, avoid buying a pet without seeing it in person and do not pay with a check or a cash app.

“When buying anything online, do not do wire transfer, do not do gift cards. You are going to want to use a credit card if at all possible.”

If you fall victim to a pet scam, report it to the BBB Scam Tracker.

For more information about the rise in pet scams, click here.

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