corgi and cat running in the grass

Recently, there has been a rise in pet scams, with scammers impersonating reputable companies like Priority Moving. These fraudulent schemes often prey on the emotions of prospective pet owners, promising the delivery of a beloved pet that doesn’t exist. Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself from these activities.

Priority Moving does not and will not transport pets, so if you receive a message about a pet being transported, it is 100% a scam. Please ignore it. 

How Pet Scammers Operate

Initial Contact: Scammers often reach out via online platforms, including social media, classified ads, or fake websites. They post enticing offers for pets, often at below-market prices or with heartwarming adoption stories. They might use high-quality images and detailed descriptions to make their ads more believable.

Fake Details: The scammer provides convincing details about the pet including the breed, age, health, and temperament. Additionally, they might fabricate elaborate backstories to pull on your heartstrings, such as rescuing the pet from poor conditions or needing to rehome due to personal circumstances.

Impersonation: To lend credibility to their scam, they claim to use a reputable company like Priority Moving for transportation. They inform you that Priority Moving will handle the delivery of the pet and that you will receive a confirmation email or call from the company. These communications are fake but made to look real. 

Payment Demands: The scammer will request payment upfront to cover various costs such as transportation, vaccinations, insurance, or crates. They often insist on quick payment methods that are hard to trace and recover, like wire transfers, gift cards, or prepaid debit cards.

Continuous Demands: Even after the initial payment, scammers may continue to persistently ask for additional fees, citing reasons such as unexpected travel delays, additional vaccinations, or quarantine costs. Each demand is presented as urgent and necessary for the pet’s safety and well-being.

Red Flags to Watch Out For

Unsolicited Contact: If you receive an unexpected message or call about a pet delivery from Priority Moving or any other company, be cautious, especially if you haven’t recently inquired about or purchased a pet. 

Inconsistent Communication: Look for inconsistencies in the communication you receive. Scam emails and calls may come from unofficial domains, contain grammatical errors, or originate from untraceable phone numbers. Legitimate companies will have professional and consistent communication channels. Additionally, scammers often create a sense of urgency and pressure you to make quick decisions. 

Payment Methods: Be suspicious if the seller requests payment through wire transfers, gift cards, or other non-traceable methods. Legitimate companies typically offer secure payment options, such as credit cards or payment through verified online platforms.

Steps to Protect Yourself from Getting Scammed

person taking a picture of a cat

Do Your Research: Verify the company’s details independently. Contact Priority Moving directly through their official website or phone number to confirm any claims made by the scammer. Look up reviews and experiences from other customers to ensure the company’s legitimacy.

Ask for Proof: Request detailed information about the pet and proof of legitimacy, such as veterinary records and breed certificates. Scammers will almost always struggle to provide verifiable documentation.

Report Suspicious Activity: If you suspect you’re being scammed, report the activity to local authorities, the platform where you encountered the scammer, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This helps protect others from falling victim to the same scam.

Trust Your Instincts: If something feels off, trust your instincts. It’s better to miss out on an opportunity than to fall victim to a scam. Take your time to verify all details before proceeding with any transaction.