Tips to help you not get scammed
THIS WAS WRITTEN BY THE NATALIA, THE BREEDER AT REJINALD CATTERY IN COLORADO USA AND PERMISSION HAS BEEN GRANTED TO REPOST ON MY WEBSITE – THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE IS REJINALD CATTERY FB. IF YOU WISH TO SHARE THIS INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT NATALIA ON EITHER OF THE LINKS ABOVE. These are Natalia’s suggestions on how to protect yourself from scammers. This post has also been slightly edited for residents of Australia.
There are a lot of scammers on the internet posing as if they are selling cute purebred kittens, puppies, even horses and llamas. They actually do not have any pets. All they do is steal photos from legit catteries and pretend they are selling pets, and then collect money from people who want a new furry friend.
Most scams are posted on For-Sale websites as Oodle.com, Kijiji.com, Gumtree, Petlink, Facebook, and such. Some signs of scam ads are: description starts with odd coded words, poor English language, no spaces between words, Capital Letter In the Middle of the sentence, phone numbers written with “x” instead of “-” between numbers, and other odd details.
To avoid being scammed, make sure you follow some of the recommendations outlined below.
1/ PHONE #
Call and talk to a real person and make sure they answer all your questions.
Leave a message if no answer, all breeders are willing to talk to potential buyers, and they will call you back. Make sure you leave your call back number, so many times messages from “Private” and “Unavailable” callers who do not leave their # in voice mail, how are you supposed to call them back?
Also, Google that phone # and see where else on the Internet it is present and what information it is connected to.
Does the breeder actually have the kitten?
See the kitten in person before you commit – if a personal visit is not an option, ask for a Skype live session or a video.
Personally, I do not do many home viewings. No time – I work a lot, also safety concerns and irresponsible visitors has convinced me to keep the home closed. I sometimes make exceptions for people that are local, in Brisbane and who are serious about purchasing.
I can do videos of kittens by request, and, although I’ve never done it, I could try to Skype with potential buyers so they can see more than static photos.
3/ Price is likely an indicator of quality and reputation of a breeder. If they ask $600 for a purebred British Shorthair kitten, something is fishy. Prices for purebred British from a reputable breeder in Australia starts from around $1200.
4/ IMAGE (photo of the kitten)
Save the image of the kitten from an online ad to your computer. Then go to www.images.google.com and Google where on the Internet EXACTLY the same image is present. You will likely find the original website from which the image was stolen. Somtimes this does not work, if the scammer has altered the picture.
Make sure the cattery is registered with a national registry. In Australia the major ones are: ACF, CCCofA & ANCATS. Each registry has a list of member bodies, and breeders that renew their membership annually will be a member of one of these member bodies. For me, I am registered with a member body of the ACF, Qld Feline Association. Check if the cattery is in good standing by calling the registry.
Most reputable breeders have a well-established website, or nowadays, a Facebook page, mine is Furdinkum British Shorthair Cats. Websites usually have an introduction page, contact information, photos of adult cats at home and at shows, pedigrees, references, page with photos of kittens for sale that gets updated regularly, description of terms of sale and other policies, links to YouTube channel with their cats’ videos, Facebook page and other social sites; links to other reputable catteries, and more useful information. Dealing with such breeders is generally safer than with someone who posted an ad online once.
That said, a reputable breeder posting an ad online will more than likely include the direct link to their own website.
7/ REPORT SCAM
If you see clearly it is a scam, or you already lost money by being scammed, you can report the case to FBI https://tips.fbi.gov/ or if here in Australia, to ACORN https://www.acorn.gov.au/
Feel free to repost these recommendations, I hope some of my tips will help potential buyers to avoid being scammed.