Online scams are more pervasive than ever, and the pet market is no exception. At CitizenShipper, we work tirelessly to filter out scammers and create a secure environment for customers and transporters alike. Still, keep these guiding principles in mind so that you’ll stay safe while buying or transporting pets.
#1 Do not let them rush you into completing the payment
One warning sign that indicates you’re dealing with a scammer is being rushed into closing the deal. They might claim that an offer is available for a limited time only… Or hey, they’re passing through your town tomorrow, so if you could make the payment by then… By urging you to act fast, scammers hope to prevent you from realizing their true motives.
#2 Do not engage with dishonest actors
If a seller says they have a deal in place with CitizenShipper to deliver your new pet, don’t take their word for it. Visit our site and see if they’re listed as one of our affiliates. If they’re not, it’s almost certainly a scam. Similarly, when transporters try to pull you off-site and negotiate a bid privately, odds are they’re trying to take advantage of you. If you leave the CitizenShipper platform, we’ve no way of monitoring your communication or protecting you from the scammer.
#3 Avoid paying via direct money transfers
A typical scammer won’t accept a credit card payment or a PayPal transfer. That’s because these services accept chargeback requests — if it turns out you’ve been scammed, the bank can reverse the transfer and restore your funds.
Instead, scammers will want to be paid through Western Union, MoneyGram, and similar non-refundable money transfers. Do not go along with this, no matter what justification they come up with.
#4 Learn to recognize fake addresses
When a seller provides you with a name, phone number, or address, go ahead and Google it. Scammers often use the same contact info over and over again, so a quick search might point you to a blacklist. If it turns out you’ve been given one of those addresses, you’ll know it’s a scam. (Their actual location is likely Cameroon or Eastern Europe.)
Also, scammers might email you from a public domain (@gmail.com, @usa.com etc) but with “citizenshipper” as part of the address. That’s an instant red flag — all CitizenShipper correspondence goes through our own domain (@citizenshipper.com).
#5 Learn to recognize phony insurance offers
Recently, we've discovered scammers that offer fake insurance deals hiding behind names and domains vaguely similar to CitizenShipper's. Anyone who tries to sell you pet insurance on our behalf is definitely a scammer - we do not provide any kind of insurance policy as a part of our service.
Here's a few screenshots, just so you'd know what to stay away from. The first is a fake insurance certificate from a non-existent organization called IATA (not to be confused with the legitimate IPATA):
The second is a spam message from uscitizenshipper.com (a fake address, not associated with CitizenShipper). Their fake pet insurance costs $325, supposedly 100% refundable (it's not):
Whenever you suspect you’re being scammed, feel free to contact us and report the incident. We’ll review the case and let you know how to proceed.