Scams this Week 3/22/23

March 22, 2023

There were a handful of scams that really took off during the early days of the pandemic because so many people were at home and online. One scam that picked up and has no sign of slowing down is the Pet Scam.


Pet Scams: Pet scams also often known as puppy scams, cost victims $850,000 in 2021 and over $1M in 2022. Typically these scammers set up fake websites full of cute animal photos, giving potential pet-loving victims false hope and expectations of a new furry friend. After the scammer gets an initial payment for the pet, they will tack on more costs for shipping or special crates, shots, etc. The scams are consistently profitable because the multi-tiered setup allows scammers to convincingly go back to a consumer several times to ask for money.

If you're looking for a new pet but want to avoid becoming a victim:

  • See pets in person before paying any money.
  • Try to set up a video call to view the animal.
  • Conduct a reverse image search on photos attached to ads.
  • Research the breed to figure out the average market price.
  • Check out a local animal shelter for pets to meet in person before adopting.

If you are the victim of a pet scam, immediately contact:

  • The Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker to report fraud online.
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC): to file a complaint online or call 877-FTC-Help.
  • Your credit card issuer: Report the incident if you shared your credit card number, even if the transaction was not completed. Monitor your statements and if you suspect fraud, ask for a refund.
  • Tracks complaints, catalogs puppy scammers, and endeavors to get fraudulent pet sales websites down.

Find more scam prevention tips on our website.

You can add Det. Thorne on Facebook or follow @DetThorneBPD on Twitter.

Contact: Boise Police Media Relations

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