ANIMAL SHELTER

Scam Pulls at Heart Strings of Animal Lovers, Authorities Warn

Though it may appear to be a donation toward a good cause, the money raised never reaches the animals or the sheltering agencies.

What to Know

  • The scammers are said to post photos of caged animals alongside false information about "high-kill" shelters.
  • People may be contacted by these scammers on social media, email, phone or U.S. mail.
  • Incidents of consumer fraud can be reported directly to the Federal Trade Commission.

Scammers are using images of sad puppies in cages to prey on compassionate animal lovers in a pervasive animal shelter scam.

The scammers post photos of caged animals next to false information about "high-kill" shelters.

These scammers may contact people by social media, email, phone or U.S. mail. Though it may appear to be a donation toward a good cause, the money raised never reaches the animals, the sheltering agencies or the adoption organizations.

Officials advise potential donors to verify that the organizations asking for funds are legitimate 501(C) 3 charities. Consumers can also look up an organization on Charity Navigator, a nonprofit watchdog that provides charity ratings based on accountability.

Consumers are asked to make sure the animal posted about exists, inquire where it is housed and the extent of its needs.

Fraud can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission by calling (877) FTC-HELP. Reports can also be made to the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs by calling (800) 593- 8222 or visiting dcba.lacounty.gov.

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