Pet holiday scams are nothing new, but they cost victims more
Puppy scams are not only one of the most emotionally devastating scams, but a new study update from the Better Business Bureau also reveals that victims are losing more money per incident than ever before.
In fact, the average monetary loss, with an average loss of $850 in 2022, is up 60% since 2017.
The BBB has been tracking this since 2017, when it released an in-depth study Puppy Scams: How Fake Online Pet Sellers Steal from Unsuspecting Pet Buyers.
Yorkies, Dachshunds and French Bulldogs account for nearly 30% of all puppy scams, according to 2022 BBB Scam Tracker reports.
However, consumers mentioned more than 40 breeds, meaning buyers should exercise caution when shopping for any breed online.
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These scams remain consistently profitable for fraudsters because their multi-layered setup allows them to convincingly return to a consumer multiple times to ask for money.
While actual cases are down in the past year, consumer losses to pet fraud in North America nationwide are expected to exceed $2 million. That’s about a third less than the peak of more than $3 million during the 2020-2021 pandemic. These are figures from the BBB Scam Tracker.
Because buying a pet can be such an emotional experience, the BBB encourages consumers to be on the lookout for scams.
Going for the heart is how puppy scammers lure people in with fake websites, promising cute puppies, then asking for more money for shipping or special crates. People who get caught in pet scams say it’s easy to get carried away with emotion when buying a pet and sometimes push through even when their gut tells them something isn’t quite right.
BBB Scam Tracker reports show that those who tried to buy pets without seeing them in person, use hard-to-trace payment methods like payment apps, and accept extra costs like shipping insurance or special cages are at an increased risk of being scammed.
Many fake puppy websites, often registered outside of North America, appear and disappear quickly, hampering law enforcement efforts. Prosecutions in puppy fraud cases are tough to crack, as the perpetrators are often located outside the country.
Torch award winners
Congratulations to the winners of the coveted 2022 Better Business Bureau Torch Awards for Business Ethics and Excellence.
The Torch Awards are open to all Chicago and Northern Illinois-based businesses that have been in business for three years or more and have a track record of trust, ethics and exceptional service.
For the first time in three years, the event was held in person after two seasons of being a virtual broadcast.
Torch Award categories are judged by company size, based on employees, and there are also specialty categories. This year, an award was also given for a minority owned and operated business for Rockford.
The Torch Awards are the highest accolades BBB can give to a business. These awards are presented annually to outstanding businesses in recognition of their commitment to high standards in character, culture, customers and commitment to their community.
The recipients of the Regional Torch Award this year are:
- Winner of the Minority-Owned and Operated Business Award is Busy Bee’s Home Day Care, Rockford. Monica Kinard, owner.
- The winner of the award for 1-19 employees is Iverson Painting, Rockford. Paul Iverson, Owner
- Winner of the 20-49 employee category is AssetsBiz Corp., McHenry, IL. Mike Terreault, Owner.
Nominees for the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics were evaluated by an independent panel of judges.
Dennis Horton is director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau, which serves Winnebago, Boone and Stephenson counties, among others in northern Illinois.