NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Amid an unprecedented demand for furry friends during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people falling victim to online pet scams is also soaring.

Scammers are taking advantage of people stuck at home feeling lonely and isolated.

According to the Better Business Bureau the number of reported pet scams has more than doubled during the shutdown.

In the past 12 months, victims are estimated to have lost more than $3 million.

It's more than six times greater than the total losses reported three years ago and is triggering the BBB to issue a warning for people buying kittens and puppies from breeders online.

The BBB says by the end of November it had received nearly 4,000 scam reports, with many victims saying they sent money, but never got the pet they paid for.

Months into the pandemic many states experienced huge surges in animal adoptions, and with demand being so great in some shelters many people were forced to look for pets online.

So if you're looking to buy online, the BBB has three recommendations.

Number one: see the pet in-person before paying any money.

Two: use tactics like reverse image searches and compare prices.

And three: look for animal shelters online that still have fur babies up for adoption. is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, 4WARN weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from News4 Nashville.

>> Click/tap here to download our free mobile app. <<

Copyright 2020 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.