Maine Coon Kitten Scam


There is a Maine Coon kitten scam going around. At first, I didn't even recognize it! I had noticed recently that on our FaceBook page, we began getting an occasional comment with a link to a pet service where kittens are available.


At first glance they look like a small hobby breeder. I thought, “how great people are finding and using the Maine Coon Cat Nation social community to connect!” Well, it seems I was a bit naive.

In the last week or so I've received emails from our MCCN community friends informing me of a Maine Coon kitten scam which is gaining traction right now.

It's not simply one perpetrator or one site that can be taken down, it's a Maine Coon kitten scam formula. And when they show up on a trusted site like ours in the form of an advertisement or comment, they have already snuck in. It can be like chasing one's tail to look for them and remove them when they crop up.

These kitten scam artists are definitely too close for comfort.


Maine Coon Kitten Scam Red Flags vs. What to Expect


These are things that, when taken together, should prompt one to research further, and proceed with caution. Be wary of:

A pet service that has no real website, just a page on a free platform like FaceBook. It may be a new page. The one I'm looking at as an example is about 3 weeks old. This is because they get reported, shut down, then make a new one.

When viewing this page, there is no phone number or physical address, even no breeder name. Or, they may have multiple cheap websites. These will be missing the 'things to look for' we'll discuss later.

Whenever they are asked where they are located, or what their prices are, or who they are, they reply with “message us directly for more info.” or “check inbox” or “pm for details.” Nowhere on this page can you see that this is a cattery located in a specific location run by a particular person.

Something in their grammar or presentation isn't quite right. Here are some that I found: “pure Maine Coon kittens for rehoming” (the use of “rehoming” isn't right in this situation)
“we would be pleased to satisfy you and others.” or
“inbox this page if you need a baby.” - not professional

It looks like they use the same paragraph, copied and pasted in all their posts. One place didn't capitalize or even properly spell Maine Coon.

Who runs the page? If you can't find an administrator that's a red flag. If you do, are they located in a part of the world where scams tend to originate? The user who commented on the MCCN Facebook post was from Cameroon, West Africa. Interestingly, I then learned that many Maine Coon kitten scams originate there.

There will be no visiting permitted, and no physical address. (in some cases they will actually use the address of an unsuspecting homeowner, so definitely double check it.)

These Maine Coon kitten scammers are eager to sell kittens. They apparently currently have a kitten for anyone who asks. A real breeder on the other hand, plans litters in advance, perhaps only a couple litters per year. They have a waiting list.

If you do find out a price, and you've compared prices, the kitten scam price is low. It's a really good deal in comparison.


A Kitten Scam Formula:


You see an ad, comment, or link on a site you know and trust, and are interested in an adorable kitten.

They will want to ship right away. This is because they want you to send the money right away while you're looking at an adorable picture, before you have time to dwell on the specifics that don't feel right.

They will want to use a payment method you don't normally use and provides no fraud protection for instant money transfer.

Once they have the money, there will be additional shipping and delivery company fees. Then, the kitten may get sick. There will be a cost for vet bills, insurance, or special shipping for the ill kitten. By the time you figure out it's a kitten scam, it may have cost over $600, or much more.

Real Maine Coon Breeders



What to Look For:
A real breeder will usually have a fleshed out website. They'll have an “about us” page that tells you how they got into breeding. They'll
show their breeding girls and boys. You can see the lineage of kittens. You'll see their name and location.

The cattery will be registered with organizations such as TICA (The International Cat Association), CFA (Cat Fancier's Association). You can go on the TICA and CFA websites and cross-reference that the cattery is indeed registered there.

If there is only a FaceBook page for the cattery, display something in their about section, even if they choose not to show their home address, or name. There will be something, such as a link to their website, email address, mention of their location, and what organizations they are registered with so you can do that all-important cross-reference.

There will be multiple ways to contact them.

This is another reason to look for a kitten locally. Even if they aren't allowing cattery visitors anymore due to covid, you can see that it's a real place, with real local people and local references.

A real breeder will usually only have a few litters per year. Their website and social medial will most likely be filled with photos of kittens that are already spoken for, and info about planned litters for the future. You can expect to join a waiting list. Finding a Maine Coon kitten requires waiting and patience!

If they do have a kitten available, they'll have photos of it from newborn to recent. They will be happy to send a video, or do a video call. A kitten scam, on the other hand, usually has one photo of a kitten between 6-12 weeks of age. They probably won't be able to send more of this kitten at various ages.

To sum up, when you're looking for a kitten, you're looking for a Maine Coon breeder. And when looking for a breeder, look for transparency. Their website tells you all about them. Their social media shows you all about them. All the information is there for anyone to see and double check. No direct message required to find out who or where they are.

At this point it's easy to say kitten scammers must be easy to spot. But the thing is, it's only easy if you already know about them. If you don't, and your guard isn't up, it's all too easy to assume you're being told the truth.

Update:
After following links in comments, visiting the destinations in ads, I see now that there are a lot of these kitten scammers. They have very attractive websites, too.

If I didn't know what to look for, I'd think these were real websites.

They talk about being a small home cattery, with kittens raised underfoot, with love, exposed to children and dogs, well-socialized.

They talk about European lines, health testing, being a closed cattery and what that means. They have a fake story of how they got started.

One even displayed the TICA and CFA logos proudly on their page, saying they were registered! They were not.

Another forgot to replace the cattery name in one spot when they copied the page.

Basically, these scammers have visited real websites and know how to present themselves.

Here are the Maine Coon kitten scam red flags on a website:

🐾 They will say they are a small home cattery in "North America" or "United States." - That's not enough. A real breeder tells you their state and town, or at least their region/county within the state.

🐾 They don't display their name - first and last, full name, so you can confirm their identity. Just "us" and "we" and "our family."

Summary - Kitten Scammers Will:



🐾 Be eager to ship you a kitten, create a sense of urgency.

🐾 Want to use a non-secure method of direct electronic payment. Maybe even money order or gift cards.

🐾 They will want to use text, direct message on social media, and email. Most of them will not be keen on voice calls.

🐾 Remember that there is no valid reason for a breeder not to have a video call if you request one.



Kitten Scam Warnings From Our Friends:



Karen shares:
"there's an ad with pictures of Maine Coon kittens for sale that appears on the beginning of your website, they look and sound legit, it is a scam. I got bitten for 650.00, because I thought they were associated with you, I now realize that they aren't, but please warn your readers."




So let's work together to spread the word about this Maine Coon kitten scam.

Comments for Maine Coon Kitten Scam

Click here to add your own comments

May 14, 2022
Mariana Maine Coon Home NEW
by: Anonymous

Charged me $400 for kitten and another $200 to ship to my residence, once they got her to the shipping courier, i was told i needed to may anywhere from 950.00 to 1800 for another type of crate for the safety of the kitten, when i said no i cant, they replied all i have to do is pay more for the new crate and again i said no thats what i paid extra for and she then said then let the kitten die.

"MARIANA MAINE COON HOME" DO NOT ORDER FROM THEM!

Apr 15, 2022
maine coon kitten
by: Anonymous

I wish I had found this posting before I got a Maine Coon. I had found one on the internet. Got an address and I went there. I bought the kitten but I wasn't allowed on the property to go into the house to see the kitten.. I saw her outside in a cat carrier and she was adorable. She didn't look the age she is, so I bought her and took her home. When I got home, to my dismay she had diarrhea. I called the vet and I was able to get her in 4 days after I got her. I ran out of funds for further tests to find out what's wrong with her, our family loves her and now I am just trying different foods, to see if the diarrhea will stop. I don't want to give her up. But I am angry at the person, whom I got the cat from.. This person claims to be a breeder, but I have my doubts. I have been looking for 3 years and now we have one, and unfortunately with health issues.

Apr 13, 2022
Facebook maine coon rehoming page
by: Vicke Cline

Just had them try to scam.me of $1150 for a kitten. Luckily I am smarter than that and I thought to do some research into the admins of the page. Noone had any info except foreign page and sports likes and these women were from the US.

Apr 13, 2022
Kittycompanions.shop
by: Anonymous

Only got me for $400 because I refused to send all of the money up front. They agreed to collect the remaining $300 once I received the kitten. They then demanded the rest because of flight issues and special crate. I researched and the name given to me doesn’t even exist in the state they say they are in. They’ve ghosted me and won’t reply at all. Surprise! No kitten, no refund. Please beware!

Apr 07, 2022
https://lightsmainecoon.com/ Scam Website
by: Anonymous

Beware this site: Cute Maine Coon Kittens (https://lightsmainecoon.com/)

I bought a kitten for them and when it came time to fly the kitten to me, they tried to demand more money. They sent a fake registration certificate. When I asked for a refund they tried to demand more money from me. The site looked real and they sent more photos of the kitten I was interested in. I thought it was a legitimate business, but it's not. Please beware.

Apr 04, 2022
Potential scammer page
by: Anonymous

Here is a site that I am starting to think is part of a scam. There are some noticeable grammar issues, address/names aren't given up front, and you have to pay a deposit to be able to visit.
http://www.topmainecoonkittens.com/

Mar 15, 2022
Maine Coon Kitten scam
by: Anonymous

We started looking for 2 maine Kitten to buy. I already have a maine coon he’s 12 years old. My big boy is sick. We’ve been threw the process of finding a kitten and it can take a long time. When I found 2 breeders that had kittens available I was cautious. The first one their pricing didn’t add up. He was over charging me $2,000.00. They wouldn’t answer me when I questioned it. We didn’t go threw with that purchase. It left me feeling angry. Unsure where to look.

The second one was a bigger scam I found the same picture of the one kitten on three other breeder sites. When they could ship the kitten for$150.00 with nanny service that was a red flag. They could ship it next day red flag. They were shipping a cat tree too. All for the low price of 300.00 for both cats from CO to PA. Little things weren’t the same as when I bought my first maine coon. I knew enough not to give any money. But I just want anyone that is going to buy a kitten. Just be careful I do have saved pictures of the kitten. They even sent me pictures. I don’t know who owns this beautiful maine coon, he is beautiful. It is a same people are trying to resale a kitten from 4 different web pages. G

Mar 10, 2022
Cat scam
by: Susan

Hi. I think that all of the cat scammers should be listed on every pet site and publicly shamed. So whenever a person wants to check into which catteries to look into the list pops up and they get steered to validated catteries instead. Scammers can rot in hell!

Oct 29, 2021
Site Security
by: Carrie

Hi, I'm glad you asked! I remember the day this changed. It was unnerving to see that warning. I spent quite some time figuring it out.

Here's what happened: On September 30, a security certificate by Let's Encrypt, one of the largest providers of HTTPS certificates, saw it's root certificate expire.

Certificates tell browsers (Firefox or Safari, for example) to trust that a site is secure.

Usually this is no big deal, as certificates do expire and get replaced. This is what happened with this site.

The problem is the new certificate can't be read by older devices using older operating systems.

As an example, my computer is around 10 years old, and it's been updated as much as it can. It won't take any more updates. It runs great! But, it can't read the certificate either so I get the same warning screen.

Thankfully I have a slightly younger laptop I'm using as a backup. (This is why you were able to come here and ask the question using a different (must be younger) computer.)

Some suggestions on the web include updating your operating system, and/or browser. For those like me, I'm still not sure if there is a fix.

According to TechCrunch, "Devices likely to be affected by the certificate expiry are those that don’t get updated regularly, like embedded systems that are designed not to automatically update or smartphones running years-old software releases. Users running older versions of macOS 2016 and Windows XP (with Service Pack 3) are likely to face issues, along with clients dependent on OpenSSL 1.0.2 or earlier, and older PlayStations that haven’t been upgraded to newer firmware."

I've noticed I can't visit quite a few sites on my old computer anymore, so it seems like many sites were affected, although again, it's only older computers and devices that have a problem. If I learn of a fix, or any updates I'll update everyone. Hope this helps!

Oct 29, 2021
Trouble with your website
by: Anonymous

For about a month now I have been unable to get into your website. When I click on the link, my anti virus program shows a page that says it is blocked because the security certificate has expired.

Could this be related with the fake ads? I am sending this from a different computer.

Oct 09, 2021
So happy that you are warning readers
by: Ron

I’m the Ron from the first comment. I can’t tell you how happy I am that you are getting the word out. I’ve been trying to warn as many people as possible.
Your correct, these sites are plentiful and are heartless. I have wanted a kitten for many years but have not because of my existing "herd" (two rescue boys). Sadly one passed and I felt the time was right to bring in a kitten to bring some joy back into my home. These sites preyed on my ignorance and took me for quite a bit of money, leaving some pretty sad people here.
This I do not want to wish on anyone.
So thank you for bringing this topic up and letting your readers know!!
Ron

Oct 09, 2021

by: Ron

I've been wanting to buy a Maine Coon kitten and went to the web to find a breeder. Well I got scammed by a bogus dealer who took my money and disappeared. As I have looked into it, there seems to be a lot of sites that follow the same scam. ..

In the last two days I've found a lot of people who have had the same scam pulled on them.
Any help in getting the word out there as a warning would be helpful. I've been in touch with authorities and they suggested I try to get the word out via social media.

Oct 08, 2021
Supposedly from Wisconsin
by: Mary

Hi. I got taken by one of those scammers in January 2018. I was losing my best Maine Coon friend to Cancer. I couldn't bare the thought of living alone with no cat.

I started searching online for Maine Coons. Very few kittens at that time of year. No breeders in NC had any Kittens. Finally I thought I 'found' one in Wisconsin. A website with beautiful pictures. I emailed back and forth with them. They would only accept payment through Western Union.

Between the kitten, shipping etc. it cost me 1200.00. I couldn't get my money back. There was no kitten, only pictures stolen from the websites of breeders. I later met the breeder that the picture was stolen from. I was ripped off big time because I was so desperate for a kitten and hurting so much over losing my Bella.

I later found a Red classic Tabby male Maine Coon for 900.00 from a Maine Coon breeder in N.C. He is a beautiful, smart boy and I love him so much. His name is King. His picture is below.

ginger maine coon cat

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Return to Finding Kittens >^..^<.



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