How to Avoid Bengal Scams
Since this page is ranking very high on google I've been receiving an overwhelming number of emails from people saying they were scammed or almost scammed. I want to help as many people as possible so I'm going to share a few links with you.
The website www.PetScams.com is dedicated to stopping kitten and puppy scammers. They have a list of scammers and a place to report them. Whoever took the time to do this is a saint!
Facebook group Heads Up - SCAMMERS & Bad Bengal Buyers and Sellers is another good resource. You can use the search tool and type in a cattery or breeder name and see if anything negative shows up. They also list info about buyers who, for whatever reason, they didn't feel comfortable selling a bengal to.
Lastly, this link www.usa.gov/stop-scams is where you can report scammers to the government.
Tips to make sure you're not being scammed when buying a Bengal Cat
1) Here's the number one BEST tip I can give to everyone looking to adopt a Bengal cat. If you want to make sure the person you are talking to really has this cat in their possession, ask them to take a video of the kitten and say your name in the video. Make sure you have them say your name because anyone can steal a video off another breeders website, Youtube, or FaceBook page. That is why I have started water marking ALL of my videos. If you're uncomfortable asking them to do this just tell them your friend was scammed and you don't want the same thing to happen to you. There is no reason that ANY breeder should have any problem at all doing this for you. If they can't send you a video like that, do not send them money!!! It's either a scam or the kitten is not social and they know it would be scared and hiding in the video. Do not take any excuse for a breeder not being able to provide you with a video of the kitten.
2) CALL TICA at (956) 428-8046 and ask them if the breeder's cattery is registered with them. If it's not, DO NOT SEND THEM MONEY!!! If it is, you MUST still verify that you are communicating with the true owner of the cattery. Not all breeders pay to be listed on TICA's website, which is why you should call them.
3) It's not enough to just verify if the cattery is registered. I have had scammers on Craigslist actually steal pictures off my website and post them on Craigslist and elsewhere. They then make a fake email address that has the name of my cattery in it. They direct interested people to my website to verify that they are the legitimate breeder. People don't bother to look at the contact page with the real email because they think they are already talking to the real breeder. You must verify the email address TICA has for the breeder with the email address of the person you are communicating with.
4) Check to make sure the pictures they are using are really theirs. Use Google reverse image. Here's the link: https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl Just save the picture they are using and upload it. The search will show you other sites that the image is on. If you see the picture they are using on another breeders website it could be stolen. You would have to do some research and see who stole the picture but it should be pretty easy to figure out.
5) If they don't have a Facebook page for their cattery I would be extremely cautious!!! Everyone who has this type of business has a Facebook page now days. Look to see how old the page is and how many people have uploaded pics of kittens they bought from that breeder or made comments about how much they love the kitten they got from them.
6) If they don't have a website I wouldn't even speak to them. Or if the website looks very very basic, like something that could be put together in a couple of days. I wouldn't deal with them. I say this only because I have seen so many sites that were quickly put together by people that were verified as scammers. They are getting smarter and they know that many people aren't falling for their Craigslist ads. Also, a LOT of scammers are foreigners and you will notice when they write their English is not used properly and sentences sound funny. You'll see this on the website and when communication with them via email or text. And yes they can absolutely have a USA phone number to use for texting.
7) Ask for their vets name and phone number so you can call and get a reference! ALL good breeders should have this info readily available at all times. Ours is Dr. Diana Hamilton at Denham Springs Animal Hospital. Phone number is 225-665-8271.
8) Get them on the phone! Scammers will RARELY agree to speak to you on the phone. If they do, there's a very good they will not speak very good English, or will have a foreign accent.
9) If the price of the bengal kitten is very low beware!!! It is rare to see a quality Bengal kitten for less than $1000. A very common price that you will see from a scammer is $400 or $500 for the kitten and that includes free shipping to your nearest airport. The reason they do this is so they can get more of your information by saying they need all your info to give to the airline as the person who will be picking up the cat. I ship a lot of cats. The price to ship one kitten is $330 (pre pandemic price, it's higher now) and that includes the airfare, vet health certificate required to fly, and the kennel. No one is shipping a kitten at this price for free! If they say they have a special courier, they are lying!
10) Do not buy kittens off Craigslist or any similar site!!!! ALL reputable breeders WILL have a website and be registered with TICA!
11) Don't fall for the "one of our family members is sick scam." This one personally infuriates me. I was notified that a scammer had stolen pictures of my twin daughters holding our kitten Abby off my website and was using them to scam people. They would tell people that one of "their" daughters was undergoing chemo to treat her cancer and they needed to sell the kitten because they needed money to pay for treatment costs that the insurance didn't cover. So they weren't even claiming that they were a breeder. They were just this poor family in need of money to help their very young daughter who was fighting cancer.... disgusting.
Apparently scammers are now removing watermarks from photos and videos. Please be EXTRA careful when searching for a bengal kitten.
If you have a few breeders in mind that you know are legitimate here's some great information from our How to Choose a Bengal Breeder page to help you narrow down which one of them would be the best one to get your new furry family member from. Everyone deserves a healthy, social, beautiful Bengal cat and we hope this information helps you find the perfect one for your family.
Please do not support backyard breeding. It's very important that the cats are tested for genetic disease, given the best veterinary care, fed the best food, constantly interacted with, given proper medications and vaccinations, and are treated with unconditional love. I can not even keep count of the number of people that have told me they bought an unregistered kitten from somewhere really cheap and they either had major health issues, it died, or was so unsocial they could never earn the cat's trust and have them act like the loving affectionate cats that you see from quality breeders.
Here's one of many emails I've received about someone stealing my pictures to try and scam people out of money. I now watermark ALL my pictures and videos.