BBB Warns of Pet Flipper Scams

Is your pet a part of the family? Or are you just an animal lover who hates to see animal abuse? Then you must be aware of Pet Flipping.
July 18, 2014

How the scam works:

To most of us, our pets are more than just animals; they are faithful companions and family members. Pet flippers are some of the worst kind of scammers, as they take away members of our families for their own personal profit motives.

A pet flipper is a person who steals a beloved family pet, either directly from the owner or by responding to “pet found” ads, claiming to be the owner. They will then turn around and sell the animal to someone else in order to make a quick buck, or in the case of a purebred animal, they will sometimes use them as “breeding machines,” often keeping them in less than savory conditions.

How to avoid:

The best prevention is to have your pets spayed or neutered to make them less desirable to criminals looking for an animal to breed. Also, many veterinarians recommend having a microchip implanted in your pet, to make identification and location easier. GPS enabled collars are only good so long as they are on the animal; therefore a microchip is the better option for keeping our pets safe from harm and at home with us where they belong.

If you do decide to purchase a pet online, follow these 6 tips to ensure you’re not getting involved with a “pet flipping” crook:

  • Request pictures of the pet—particularly ones with the seller.
  • Ask to visit the pet at the sellers home to see how they interact with their supposed owner.
  • Require the pet’s paperwork—i.e. vet bills, insurance information, kennel club registration.
  • Ask about the pet’s history—has it been spayed or neutered? Cross-reference with the vet bill.
  • Have the seller create an official bill of sale. Make sure all terms of the agreement are in writing.
  • Do not purchase the pet unless the seller agrees to a vet’s examination and micro-chip scan first

Don’t be afraid to report to authorities any person you believe may be involved in pet flipping.