Navigating the online world, particularly on social media platforms like Facebook, comes with some downsides, including the potential for falling victim to pet scams. By being vigilant and proactive, you can protect yourself and others from falling prey to Facebook pet scams and help create a safer online environment for pet lovers.
How to Spot a Scam
Facebook is great for many things but is also rife with scams and fake profiles. Pet scams are widespread on Facebook, tricking people into giving up thousands of dollars to get a great deal on a kitty. Here’s how to spot a Facebook pet scam and what to do when you’ve found one.
One of the biggest red flags for a kitten scam is when the price seems too good to be true. That’s because it is – scammers want you to pay quickly, so they advertise at prices well below the typical price for the breed.
Stolen photos are common because scammers need photos to ‘sell’ their ‘cats’, but they don’t actually have cats to sell. If you see the same images used elsewhere, at least one account is a scammer.
Look at the backgrounds and settings. Do the photos of the cats look like they were taken in the same breeding home? Or are they wildly inconsistent and likely to be stolen from various people?
Fake cat sellers won’t just steal pictures, but they will steal descriptions too. Try copying descriptions into Google to see if they have been taken from another site or page.
Lack of a Website
Most reputable cat breeders will have a full website, and their Facebook page is supplementary. A breeder may only use Facebook but tread cautiously, as it is more likely to be fake.
Sellers Asking for Extra Payments
A good breeder will agree on a flat price with you for a cat in advance. Scammers on Facebook may ask for an upfront payment but then try to levy extra fees, such as quarantine release.
Cats Advertised Too Young
Kittens shouldn’t be sold before they are 8 weeks old at the earliest. If you see someone selling cats younger than this on Facebook, they are either fake or not a proper breeder, and the kitten could have all kinds of health issues.
Poor Use of English
Scammers can set up from anywhere in the world – the wonders of the internet. If you see a cat advertised on a local Facebook account, but the seller’s English is poor, it means there is an increased risk it is a scam.
Sellers Refusing Videos/Visits
Anyone buying a cat will want to see it properly before they buy – either in person or, if that’s not possible, on a video call. If a seller refuses both options, how do you know the cat is real?
Reporting Scammers to Facebook
If you suspect someone is trying to scam you on Facebook to get you to buy a fake cat, report them. Facebook should take the page down if you can provide evidence they are a scammer.
Scammers Praying on Scammers
One thing to be careful with – some scammers target other scammers. You’ll see ‘independent’ recommendations in the comments to visit another Facebook or Instagram page so that an ‘expert’ can help you remove the page. These are fake and can lead to more scam attempts.
Reputable Places to Buy
While it is possible to find genuine cat breeders on Facebook, stick to those with their own website and that you can ideally visit in person to see the cat before buying. Buying online is always a risk, but Facebook is particularly bad for pet scams.
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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,