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Have a Pet or Want One? Watch Out for “Pet Flippers”

Have a Pet or Want One? Watch Out for “Pet Flippers” - The Beacon


By: Amanda

Have a Pet or Want One? Watch Out for “Pet Flippers”

Your BBB has learned of a new way that schemers are making money.  It’s called “pet flipping.”  Pet flipping is when some finds or takes a pet that isn’t theirs and sells it to an unsuspecting individual for cash. 

How do the schemers get the pets they are “flipping”?  They may claim to be the owner of a pet advertised in the “Lost and Found” section of the classifieds; they may be patrolling the streets looking for pets roaming without owners nearby or they may even take the pet from the actual owner’s yard.

How does the flipper get the cash? They will often post an ad for the pet in online and in paper classifieds to sell the missing or stolen pets for anywhere between $50 and $1000, according to an article on Today.  The schemer may also stand outside of grocery and pet stores claiming that they are desperate for money and can’t afford to take care of the pet.  This appears to be happening throughout the U.S.  So what can you do?

If you have a pet, keep these tips in mind:

-Try not to leave your pet unattended.

-If your pet goes missing, check the classifieds (both online and off) to see if anyone is advertising your pet for sale.

-Consult your pet’s veterinarian about ways to track your pet if it is lost or stolen.

If you want a pet and decide to purchase it online, keep these 6 tips in mind to ensure you’re not getting involved with a “pet flipper”:

1. Request pictures of the pet—particularly ones with the seller.

2. Ask to visit the pet at the sellers home to see how they interact with their supposed owner.

3. Require the pet’s paperwork—i.e. vet bills, insurance information, kennel club registration.

4. Ask about the pet’s history—has it been spayed or neutered? Cross-reference with the vet bill.

5. Have the seller create an official bill of sale. Make sure all terms of the agreement are in writing.

6. Do not purchase the pet unless the seller agrees to a vet’s examination and micro-chip scan first (if there is one)

For more information you can trust, visit

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Amanda is the Director of Bureau Affairs and is a regular contributor to the consumer education blog. She is one of our go-to colleagues for answering complex consumer inquires. Amanda also manages our charity reporting program.