BBB of the Texas Panhandle is warning consumers about an online breeding company targeting consumers interested in owning special breeds of cats.
BBB has received reports of a fraudulent business operating under the name Hairless Kittens Home claiming an Amarillo, Texas address. Consumer complaints and scam tracker reports state that inquiries made through the website www.hairlesskittenshome.com lead to a request for Western Union and Zelle payments.
Once the payment is made, shipping arrangements are changed and the consumer is asked to send more money to rectify an issue with the shipment and/or to purchase insurance for the pet. The shipment never arrives and several attempts to contact the business go unanswered.
Searches on the pictures from the Hairless Kittens Home website result in the same pictures on several different sites. “This is an easy way to check and a major red flag,” said Janna Kiehl, President of the BBB serving the Texas panhandle
“These scammers count on the ongoing relationship and emotional commitment you’ve made,” said Kiehl. The scammer may go so far as to threaten that the pet will be euthanized if you don’t send more money. Once they have your money, you never hear from them again. “Unfortunately, the pet never existed in these cases,” said Kiehl.
A BBB nationwide study showed that pet schemes that sell non-existent pets may be more widespread than commonly believed. In the report. “Puppy Scams: How Fake Online Pet Sellers Steal from Unsuspecting Pet Buyers”, BBB warns that anyone searching for a pet online is likely to encounter fake pet sales.
The BBB warns consumers to be aware of online pet scams, get answers to questions and avoid buying on impulse.
- Don’t buy a pet without seeing it in person. If you are looking online and see a picture of a pet you may want to consider, do an internet search of the picture. If the same picture appears on multiple websites, you may be dealing with a fraud. You can also search for text from ads or testimonials to see if the seller copied it from another site.
- Never pay a stranger with a money order or through Western Union or Moneygram. Always use a credit card in case you need to dispute the charges.
- Research prices for the breed you are interested in adopting. If someone is advertising a purebred dog for free or at a deeply discounted price, you could be dealing with a fraudulent offer.
- The Humane Society of the United States refers consumers to local shelters. They also have tips for finding a reputable breeder.
- Learn about fraud and report scams at BBB ScamTracker.