Maine Coon Cat Scams: How to Avoid Being Fooled When Buying Your Furry Friend
Maine Coons are one of the most popular cat breeds in the world. They are known for their affectionate personality, intelligence, and distinctive looks. If you are looking to adopt a Maine Coon, it is important to find a reputable breeder who is registered with The International Cat Association (TICA) or another cat association. However, with the rise of online shopping and the increasing popularity of the breed, there are many scammers out there who try to take advantage of unsuspecting buyers. Here are some tips on how to avoid being scammed when looking for a registered Maine Coon breeder.
The first step in avoiding scams is to research. Look for reputable breeders who are registered with TICA or WCF. Check their website and social media pages to see how long they have been in business and read reviews from their previous customers. Be wary of breeders who do not have a website or social media presence, or who refuse to provide references.
One of the best places to start your search is on the official website of The International Cat Association (TICA). TICA is one of the largest cat organizations in the world, and it provides a wealth of resources for cat lovers, including a directory of registered breeders. Here's how you can use the TICA website to find a reputable Maine Coon breeder:
Go to the TICA website: The TICA website is a comprehensive resource for cat lovers, and it includes a directory of registered breeders. Go to www.tica.org to get started.
Click Owners and Breeders, scroll down to "Find a Breeder": Click on "Find a Breeder" to access the directory of registered breeders.
Select "Maine Coon" as the breed: When you're on the "Find a Breeder" page, you'll see a drop-down menu where you can select the breed you're interested in. Choose "Maine Coon" from the list.
Choose your location: Once you've selected the breed, scroll down to choose your location. You can select a specific country or state, or you can leave it blank to see all registered breeders.
Check breeder profiles: Once you have a list of registered Maine Coon breeders, take some time to read their profiles. Look for breeders who have a good reputation and who are committed to breeding healthy, well-socialized cats.
Contact potential breeders: If you find a breeder who looks promising, reach out to them to learn more about their cats and their breeding program. Ask about the health and temperament of their cats and find out what kind of support they offer to new owners.
If they send you a copy of the TICA certificate to verify that they are registered, call the office of TICA and they will be glad to authenticate the breeder as legitimate. Scammers photo shop names out and replace. Some create their own certificates from TICA to scam with counterfeit certificates. Due to a previous incident in which a scammer posed as a potential buyer and stole our TICA registration information, we have made the decision not to share this information anymore. However, interested individuals can still find our cattery listed on the TICA website. Additionally, we encourage buyers to reach out to the TICA office directly to verify our cattery's registration status and legitimacy.
2. Get to know the Cattery
Most catteries do not allow visitors to their facilities in order to protect their kittens from potential diseases. While this policy is understandable, it can be disappointing for potential adopters who want to meet the kittens and see their living conditions in person. However, it is important to note that catteries should still allow for some form of communication with potential adopters, such as virtual visits, phone calls, or video calls. These options can give adopters a sense of the cattery's practices and the kittens' personalities, while still protecting the kittens from potential illnesses. As a responsible breeder, it is important to find a balance between protecting the kittens' health and ensuring that they are placed in loving, responsible homes. If the breeder refuses to have any type of communication and prefers only to text you, this should raise red flags. Many scammers’ use only text messages. If you are actually able to talk with someone on the phone, ask many questions. If you sense irritation let this be a sign to back away. If you have any doubt have the breeder send you a video and have them say ‘YOUR NAME’ in the video. Better yet, Facetime with the breeder and your kitten so you can talk to the breeder while seeing the kitten in real time.
Our cattery is always open to our clients, and we would love for you to see the facilities and the cats in person through FaceTime. We believe that transparency is crucial in building trust with our customers, which is why we are always available to answer your questions and address any concerns you may have. You can contact us anytime, and we will be more than happy to schedule a FaceTime session so that you can see firsthand how we take care of our cats and the environment they live in. We understand that adopting a new pet is a significant decision, and we want you to feel comfortable and confident that you are getting a healthy and happy pet from a reputable breeder. So please don't hesitate to reach out to us anytime, and we will be more than happy to help you.
3. Ask Questions
Ask the breeder questions about the kittens’ health, vaccination history, and pedigree. A reputable breeder should be able to provide you with all the necessary information and documentation. If the breeder seems evasive or unwilling to answer your questions, this should raise suspicions.
4. Avoid Payment Upfront
Be wary of breeders who ask for payment upfront or who insist on using a wire transfer, gift card or Western Union for payment. A reputable breeder will usually require a deposit to hold a kitten but should not require full payment until the kitten is ready to be picked up. Payment should also be made using a secure method, such as PayPal or a credit card. Pay with only a method that you can fight for your refund if this is a scam.
5. Low Prices
If the price is ‘too good to be true’ then it most likely is a scam. Reputable breeders invest into quality food, veterinarian care, supplements, testing and are careful to invest in healthy pedigree cats for their breeding programs. Do not fall for this! However, buyers should be aware that these low prices and free transportation offers are often a red flag for a scam. The scammer may ask for payment upfront, and then disappear without ever sending the promised kitten. In some instances, if you’ve actually sent them payment for a kitten (that doesn’t exist) they will ask for more for various other expenses. Example they may tell you that during the transport your kitten is stuck at the airport in a city (they name) and they need additional money to continue the transport. However, after receiving the money, the scammer may disappear without any intention of sending the kitten. Another ploy for more money if you’ve already sent payment for a kitten (that doesn’t exist) is requesting you to send more money for a climate-controlled carrier. Do not fall for this! Airlines will only allow animals to fly when the temperatures are within their rules for safe shipping. Animals fly in ‘climate controlled’ compartment.
Buyers should be willing to pay a fair price for a Maine Coon kitten and be wary of any offers that seem too good to be true. If you’ve already sent money for kitten, they will make themselves seem legitimate by supplying, you with ‘tracking’ information. Their next scam is to require more money from you to pay for ‘insurance’ for the transport. Any legitimate breeder will NOT tack on extra fees once you’ve agreed on purchasing the kitten.
6. Lack of Pictures
One common tactic used by Maine Coon kitten scammers is to use the same pictures of kittens on multiple fraudulent websites. These images may be taken from legitimate breeders or other sources and are used to entice buyers into believing that the scammer has a high-quality kitten available for purchase. Scammers can only provide you with very few pictures. They will be unable to provide you with photos of that kitten at various stages in its development.
By regularly updating our website with new kitten pictures, we provide assurance to potential buyers that they are not dealing with a fraudulent breeder using stolen images. Our commitment to displaying up-to-date photos of our kittens growing and maturing serves as a testament to the authenticity of our cattery and provides peace of mind to those considering a purchase from us. In addition, due to a scammer stealing our pictures in the past, we now add a logo and watermark to most of our photos.
7. The background of the kitten's photos tends to be inconsistent
A reliable way to confirm the authenticity of kitten pictures is to check if the same kittens appear in various settings, such as the kitchen, stairs, couch, or with their mother in the background, at different stages of their growth. Nonetheless, it is essential to be cautious since using multiple backgrounds in a photo could suggest the use of stock photos, which may not be a true representation of the breeder's kittens in their actual living environment. This is particularly true since it's improbable for the breeder to have an endless supply of rooms to photograph the kittens in their home. If you examine our images, you'll notice that the kittens are raised in the same house and location, and our professional photos consistently feature the same background.
8. No Phone Number
If a Maine Coon kitten advertisement only includes an email address without any contact number or link to social media accounts, it's highly probable that it's a scam. Scammers can effortlessly create temporary email addresses, deceive people, and then abandon the address without any repercussions. Our cattery provides our phone number on the website, and we are readily available to answer any queries you may have.
9. No Website or Fake Website
Not everyone will have a website, and some smaller sellers may not feel the need. But the lack of a website should inspire caution in you. Though, on its own, it is probably not a big enough reason to write off a seller altogether. Some websites can be fraudulent as they only display pictures of kittens without any images of their parents. Such websites may not feature any pictures of their breeding cats, including the queens and studs. Any reputable breeder will not have a "Buy Now" button and will take the time to have a conversation with you or fill out an application.
In addition, when the breeder website domain registration is set to private is a big red flag. When a breeder website domain registration is set to private, it means that their personal information, such as their name, address, and contact details, are not publicly available. Instead, the details of the domain registrar or a third-party service may appear in the domain registration information. There could be legitimate reasons why a seller chooses to keep their domain registration private, such as protecting their personal information from potential hackers or spammers. However, it could also be a red flag, particularly when combined with other warning signs. Scammers often use fake names and addresses to conceal their true identities when setting up fraudulent websites. By keeping their domain registration private, it becomes harder for potential buyers to verify the seller's legitimacy.
8. Fake Facebook pages with ‘Maine Coon Kittens For Sale
One of the red flags to look out for when trying to avoid Maine Coon cat scams is the presence of fake Facebook pages with 'Maine Coon Kittens for Sale'. Those pages are all fraudulent, and the individual who moderates and administers the page is also the perpetrator of the scam. A real breeder will have a logo and a Cattery's name.
Social media platforms like Facebook provide an easy and inexpensive way for scammers to advertise their fake Maine Coon kittens to unsuspecting buyers.
It's important to remember that not all Facebook pages selling Maine Coon kittens are fraudulent, but scammers often create fake profiles and pages to lure potential buyers. If a seller only has a Facebook page and no website or other social media presence, this can be a concerning sign.
To determine whether a Facebook page is legitimate or fake, scroll through their page and look for regular communication from the seller on their posts. Genuine sellers typically engage with their audience by responding to comments and answering questions. Additionally, a big following of real people is a good indicator that a seller may be genuine.
Fake Facebook pages may have limited information and poor-quality or stolen photos of the Maine Coon kittens for sale.
9. Trust Your Instincts
Finally, trust your instincts. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you feel uncomfortable with a breeder or suspect that something is not right, it is better to walk away and look for a different breeder. Remember that reputable breeders will always prioritize the health and well-being of their cats and will be happy to answer your questions and provide you with all the necessary information.
What Can You Do If You Are Scammed?
Being scammed can be a distressing experience, but it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Unfortunately, scams are becoming more common, and it’s essential to be aware of the steps you can take if you become a victim of one. Here’s what you can do if you are scammed:
1. Contact your bank or credit card company
If you paid for a Maine coon cat using your credit card, contact your credit card company immediately to report the fraud. They will be able to cancel any future payments and refund any money that you have lost. If you paid via bank transfer, contact your bank as soon as possible and explain what has happened. They may be able to reverse the transaction, although this can be more difficult than with a credit card.
2. Report the scam to the relevant authorities
Report the scam to the relevant authorities, such as the police. They will be able to investigate the scam and take any necessary action to prevent it from happening again. You can also report all instances of fraud or scams to the government. Click this link to report your scam.
Once you've alerted the authorities about the scam, the situation may be partially out of your control. However, you can take action by reporting pet scammers to IPATA, an organization that maintains an extensive database of scammers and actively pursues them.
Additionally, it's wise to inform the website, Facebook page, or other platform where the scammer was advertising so that they can take action to prevent further scams from occurring.