Hints when buying / selling pets via Junk Mail

When selling or giving away your family pet, try to consider the following hints in order to ensure a good home for the animal. Try to meet at the home where the animal will be kept so that you can gauge the conditions for yourself. Ask the new owner who their preferred vet is and try to verify that they have a good track record with their pets. Use your discretion when responding to ads for pets wanted – is the person truly looking for a pet of that specific breed etc – or are they just looking for inexpensive / free pets to resell? Consider charging a market related price for your pet – if you don’t want to benefit financially from the sale consider donating funds to NPO’s like SPCA or Wetnose etc. Be wary of people who claim that they want a free pet because they battle financially. Pets can be expensive to maintain well – if a potential owner claims poverty at the outset ask yourself how they would be able to provide for the animal thereafter. Many scamsters use very emotive language when speaking of the family pet. Look out for this and as in all transactions – trust your gut feel. If things seem strange – hold out for another person wanting to take over your family pet. Be Smart, Be Savvy, Be Safe!

When buying a family pet, meet at a vet (of your choice) to get a professional opinion on the condition of the animal and verification of pedigree etc. Ask to see documentation issued by vets when animals are dewormed, inoculated etc rather than taking the word of the seller. Good owners, who have taken good care of their pets would have little difficulty in providing this to you. Ask a pet shop owner, vet or other professional on things you should look for to ascertain the health status of the animal – such as checking in their ears for fleas, ticks, secretions; if their stomach area is swollen and hard, it may indicate worms; skittish behaviour may indicate previous maltreatment; feel for bulges or growths. Overinflated emotional displays of how loved the pet was, and how sad the person is to part with the animal may be an honest refection of adoration – or an attempt to use your emotion to pressure you into taking an animal with pre-existing problems. If the owner says that the price quoted in the ad was a misprint – still carefully consider whether you want to go through with the sale for the new price quoted. Fraudsters trust that you will pay higher prices when looking at that adorable puppy / kitten face. As with all transactions, if in doubt, walk away. Be Smart, Be Savvy, Be Safe!

Junk Mail / CapeAds has recently received alerts from some users of a possible scam relating to the importing of unusual / exotic pets from outside South Africa’s borders. Often the items are advertised for sale with a local pre-paid cell number or cell number which does not exist (which lures the user into responding to them via e-mail). Scammers love to use web based e-mail addresses created on Yahoo (@yahoo.com @yahoo.co.uk and others), Google Mail (@googlemail.com or @gmail.com), Hotmail (@hotmail.com or @hotmail.co.uk or @live.com or @live.co.za or @msn.com) and other websites (which take less than 5 minutes to set up). The advertiser will let you know they have recently relocated outside South Africa and are no longer able to care for their pet for whatever reason. In some cases they claim to be missionaries somewhere in Africa not capable of taking care of the pet. The animals will be advertised at well under market price or listed as a pet for “adoption” or “give-away”. The seller will ask you to transfer funds to them to cover shipping cost, and with the balance on delivery. Do not accept such condition. Insist on full COD (Cash on Delivery) or ideally for payment to be made after the animal has been certified healthy by a local veterinarian. Always be wary of long distance trades. This is a Modus Operandi that some scammers use. Some of these trades are successfully concluded, but always take precautions to safe your money and goods. You can check with IPATA (an International Trade Association of animal handlers, pet moving providers, kennel operators, veterinarians) and others who are dedicated to the care and welfare of pets and small animals during transport if the transport agency the person is claiming to use is registered with them. Be vigilant. Do not go ahead with any trade that you feel in any way uncomfortable with. Remember, Be Smart, Be Savvy, Be Safe!

If you find an advert on our website which looks suspicious please make use of the “Report Advert” option (provided on each advert on the website) to report the advert to us.

Henno Kruger

Digital Marketing Campaign Coordinator at Junk Mail Publishing.

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