Can You Spot a Fake Pet Adoption Center? Here’s How To Be Sure

Fraudulent websites

  • Look for a physical address and contact information on the website. If there is none, it’s a red flag that the organization doesn’t want to be bothered by curious visitors or has something to hide.
  • Examine the photos. Are they grainy? Low resolution? Do all of the animals pictured look like different versions of the same animal (haircut, different clothes)? A true animal adoption center with an ethical agenda will have nothing to hide and will provide clear photos of the animals it has available for viewing and adoption.
  • ““Pay attention to grammatical errors on their website or social media profiles: frauds are often made by non-native English speakers who are less likely to catch mistakes in spelling and grammar. If a page lists several misspellings, you may have stumbled upon a scam.

Suspicious groups and accounts

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Misleading advertising

You’re scrolling through Instagram and see a picture of the cutest little dog you’ve ever seen. They’re clearly in need of an adoring home, so you comment on the post. The person who posted replies, asking you to message them if you’d like to set up an adoption. You do, excitedly, but when they respond it’s to let you know that there’s a fee for adopting the dog. Thinking that it seems fair enough—after all, this person is providing a service—you agree to pay them $60 and arrange a time to pick up your new fur baby.

The next time they contact you, however, is when they ask for another $120 via PayPal because the veterinarian needed $60 more than expected. This happens again days later with another charge from “the vet.” You begin to suspect something fishy is going on when your new friend tells you that their rent is due tomorrow and asks for another fee or suggests signing over ownership of your car as proof that you’re serious about owning this dog (that has yet to be picked up).

At this point we hope that alarm bells are ringing loud enough for you to hear in Canada because by now it should be pretty clear: You’ve been scammed!

It’s generally accepted that if someone wants money from day one of your interaction with them, then they’re not trustworthy. The same goes if someone asks for ownership of any material items in exchange for an animal; you may end up losing both the animal and whatever item was given away. Be wary if someone charges more than what is considered standard adoption fees (in most cases these are around 50-100 dollars) or if they have multiple animals available at one time as these can also be signs of foul play.

Making money off of adoption fees

Another important thing to look for is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt number. This is an official status from the IRS that allows nonprofits, including pet rescues, to not owe taxes on donations. They are also required by law to make their information available to the public, so you can check their past financial records on Guidestar (a website that allows public access to the public financial and personal information of nonprofits).

If you’ve followed all these steps and find yourself at a rescue center that cares more about making money than saving animals and providing them with care, be sure to report this organization immediately. There are many legitimate organizations out there who put pet’s health first while still being financially responsible.

Remember that not all animal rescue centers are created equal.

Although it’s true that a pet adoption center’s website can’t always be trusted, you should still browse the page and look at some of the things mentioned below. Be sure to look at the age of the site, as well as any reviews. If you see no reviews or testimonials and there are only vague mentions of people adopting pets from this site, it is probably a fake rescue center. Also check out their social media accounts and try to see if they have been active recently. Look at the images on their site, as well. If you see poor quality images or no images at all then it may be fake. And also make sure you look for contact details for them (phone number or address). If none are present then it is definitely a red flag!

If after checking out all these elements you feel confident in your decision to adopt an animal from them then go ahead with doing so!

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