Pet sitters beware of false job postings
Fraudsters love to scour online ads in the newspapers and online for chances to rip off pet sitters. Beware!
How the Scam Works
The pet sitter receives an urgent request from a family by email or text to watch “our beloved pet.” The message includes basic information like the length of time needed, type of pet, some instructions about the sitting schedule, and maybe some photos of the pet and the owner. Everything looks legitimate.
Suspicious Turn of Events
If the job is accepted, the pet sitter provides their contact information and soon after a check arrives in the mail for much more than what was originally negotiated for the job. Instructions are given to deposit the check, withdraw any advance cash needed for services, and wire the excess to the owner or to another specified business. This before any pet is met.
By now the whole transaction is sounding suspicious. If the pet sitter tries to get in touch with the client, the only way to communicate with them is by email or text. This is one of the hallmarks of a check over payment scheme and if the pet sitter decides to deposit the check anyway, they’re responsible for the overdraft charges and any consequent fees from the bank after it’s determined that the check is fake. In the end, the scammer gets the cash, keeps the pet (doubtful if there was one), and gets some of the dog sitter’s personal information that will be used in other nefarious scams and frauds.
How to Avoid Being Scammed
Before accepting any pet sitting job, it’s best to:
· Screen potential clients. Be sure the request is coming from a real person by doing some research. Verify any social media accounts. Call or visit in person.
· Ask questions, and press for an in-person meeting with the pet and the owner. By doing so, any would-be scammers will more than likely decide to go somewhere else.
If you’ve been a victim of this scheme, report it to authorities immediately, and then report it to BBB’s Scam Tracker.