Scammers are getting increasingly refined in their attempts to steal your money and personal details.
We are receiving many emails and messages more than ever lately from people who are being scammed by fake breeders. We have decided that hopefully writing an article about these Scammers can help more people from being scammed by a "Breeder Scam" and provide some tips and suggestions that will hopefully prevent some more people from being scammed.
Scammers will target people of all ages, backgrounds, and income levels. There's no one group of people who are more likely to become a victim of a scam. Anyone can be vulnerable to a scam.
Scams succeed because they look real and catch you off guard when you’re not expecting it. Scammers are getting smarter and taking advantage of new technology, a niche, major events and emotions to create believable stories that will convince you to give them your money or personal details.
Most victims of Savannah cat scams are the people who put in their search bar:
"Where can I purchase a cheap Savannah cat?"
Anyone looking for a cheap Savannah cat, will find websites in their search engine that will direct them to scams. These Scammers are purchasing Google Ad space in order to target you and steal from you. Their websites look legitimate and their prices may be the same, higher, or shockingly lower than what you are being quoted from reputable breeders.
There is a thing called a "Breeder Scam" and this refers to scammers that will do one or more of the following
Create a fake website.
Buy fake Instagram, Facebook, YouTube followers and/or comments to look legitimate
Advertise animals 'for sale' that are stolen photos from other breeders or stock photos found online.
Use 'discounts' or price quotes that may seem 'too good to be true' to lure in potential buyers to steal their money.
Use fake names and fake logos and present fake/doctored registration documents.
Steal verbiage from other breeder's websites.
Take your money and then 'ghost' you.
Avoid answering important questions you have about the animal or breed.
Get impatient with you and just try to make the sale from you.
Can I still be scammed if I received an animal?
Yes! There are also scammers who will still give you an animal. Sometimes the animal looks nothing like the cat or dog you saw in the photos. Some scammers will purchase animals from other breeders in bulk or online from backyard breeders and re-sell them. Typically these animals are given with no vaccine documents or fake vaccine documents and/or false paperwork.
How do I know the Cat or Dog I just bought was from a Scammer?
Most of these types of scammers can be spotted if they do any of the following:
Do not have a contract
Do not have a health guarantee
Give you a fake contract and not provide their real information (name/address)
Accept cash only payments
Not provide photos and videos of the kitten's parents
You are able to reverse image search and find the kittens for sale by other breeders or brokers
Buy fake Instagram, Facebook, YouTube followers and/or comments to look legitimate
Will not give you their veterinarian's information to check if the animal was seen there
Will be rude if you ask them if they are a scammer
Will not provide multiple credible references (be careful that they aren't providing references that are fake or just themselves working under another name/phone number)
Will not provide you with any vet documents or the vaccine paperwork has been falsified
Bully you or make you feel forced into purchasing the animal
The animal is under 12 weeks of age (i.e.backyard breeders)
The animal you receive is malnourished, looks nothing like the photos, may have fleas, worms, ear mites, was not vaccinated, fails a SNAP test with your vet. (i.e. backyard breeders)
Below are two messages from two different customers just recently who were scammed by one of these types of Scammers:
What can I do to prevent being Scammed?
Research the prices for the breed you are considering ahead of time. Speak to several breeders or post your question about prices or breeders in Facebook pages. Purebred cats and dogs that are sold at discounted prices are typically frauds. If the seller says they register their cats or dogs with a specific organization, (TICA, AKC, WFA, etc.) you can call or email the organization to confirm.
If you're only contacting the breeder through their website or email and are unsure of the legitimacy of their business, take some time to do more research. Use Google image search on photos of the animal that you are interested in or search the internet for others who may have had purchased or worked with that breeder.
"Scammers love to try to take advantage of people when they are in high emotion situations,” said Steve Bernas, president and CEO of BBB serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “The excitement of buying a new pet can cloud good judgement, and victims can be hurt financially and emotionally when they realize they have lost their money, and hopes for a new pet.”
Some other ways to help you avoid being scammed:
Analyze referrals. Even scammers will put fake positive reviews or referrals on their websites. Make sure you reach out directly to each and every referral from your breeder and ask them questions. Did you meet the breeder? Did you receive your kitten? Do you trust them? How is your kitten now? Were they easy to work with?
Ask questions to the breeder. Responsible breeders love to chat and educate about kittens. Ask anything and everything that you might want to know about the breed, the breeder, and the available kittens. Ask about the breed and how the kitten's parents compare to the official breed standard and other breed traits.
Ask for proof. Don’t be shy — responsible breeders will be happy to share information about your kitten’s parents, including proof of health records, genetic testing, TICA Registration and screenings. You should be sure that the kitten has been seen by a licensed veterinarian and know where the kitten is on their vaccine-schedule.
Ask for documents. Ensure that before leaving with your kitten, you will receive documentation of your kitten's health paperwork, vaccine records, and TICA Registration. Make sure that this paperwork is legitimate. If the breeder or hesitates to give you papers, or the papers look fake, this is a warning sign.
What is the difference between a Backyard Breeder and a Scammer?
Backyard breeding is a term used to describe the irresponsible breeding of animals. This is usually due to ignorance or neglect where an animal was purchased from a breeder and either accidentally becomes pregnant because the owner has failed to have them spayed or neutered, or the person purchased an animal as a pet without proper documentation and decided to unethically breed their unregistered animal for profit. There are also Scammers who will do these same practices. Be very careful!
Is there a valid reason for someone to let their pet have kittens or puppies?
There is NO VALID reasons for allowing pets to breed and is strongly discouraged. It is never okay for someone to let their unregistered pet have puppies or kittens. Some people think that if they allow their cat or dog to have a litter that it is a 'good experience' for their cat or dog or family. Some people are uneducated and think that letting their pet have 'at least one litter' will prevent health issues. (This is a myth - it is actually risky and your cat has a better chance of health if they are actually spayed or neutered before their hormones arrive in their system.
What distinguishes backyard breeders from responsible breeders are the standards that the breeder meets and whether there is a known demand for puppies before they are bred. Where breeding has been accidental, the owner is often unaware of the special requirements for the mother and her offspring and it is often difficult to find good homes for the puppies or kittens. Inadequate nutrition, fleas and worms are common in these situations, placing the welfare of these animals at risk.
Backyard breeding contributes to the unwanted companion animal population in the community. Uncontrolled breeding and overpopulation inevitably leads to the euthanasia of healthy unwanted animals.
Please Be CAREFUL! If you have any questions about a breeder or seller, please feel free to email us or message us! We are happy and willing to help provide references to other breeders that are reputable if you are looking for something and we do not have available what you may be searching for. We know many breeders and some have become great friends of ours and can be a reference to some of these legitimate breeders so you are not scammed.