Online ESA Scams to beware of

Lesson 3 Module 1

​I am Joanne Williams, LCSW, again, the manager of Next Generation Psychology, and Today’s video is about online scams you should be aware of.

I want you to be educated on How to NOT be fooled by these scams and this is the # 1the reason I am educating You.

The ESA Laws are being abused by what I call “internet pop-up” companies...

​I have watched thru time as I certify clients for an ESA, how new internet businesses have popped up to with the increase in demand for ESAS.  Not necessarily Psychological agencies, but some internet business, just selling products and selling misinformation,

clue #1

Clue #1...

​If it is NOT A PSYCHOLOGY AGENCY THAT YOU CAN SPEAK TO A PERSON,If they say that you only need is to register your animal or get a vest, an ID tag or a wall certification, not a psychological evaluation to have a certified ESA, they are not legit. Run.

As I originally looked in to the how I could get a certified letter from a therapist or a doctor, I saw a wide array of information of what was needed.  One website said, you only need a vest or a certificate to have an ESA.  Another would say get a letter for $39 online.  (I don't think so...) Nothing really made sense.

​I did my own research and read and studied the 2 Federal laws that cover having an ESA.  

online scams2

The 2 laws seemed very clear ​...

 on what was needed.  

  • A letter from a Licensed Mental Health Professional with a prescription
  • for needing an animal to help with a mental health disorder, like anxiety or depression

like I wanted for flying. AND to have your ESA with you in Housing, once you have the letter, no pet deposits or pet rents, no weight or breed restrictions.

So, I went to the internet and found a Psychological service who had done these ESA evaluations for 25 years. I called and spoke to a Licensed therapist who did the ESA evaluation with me over the phone and they mailed me a letter.  As they did the evaluation, I understood, more what is needed to be asked in the ESA Evaluation.

I knew I could do a better job and support client’s needs around recommendations for their anxiety and or depression symptoms or continued therapy sessions, than this inexperienced young therapist did.

 I started doing evaluations with a young start up ESA company who was selling vests and ID cards, who wanted a therapist to do the ESA evaluation for a certified letter.  I didn’t stay with them long, because I could see that they were more interested in selling vests and ID cards than what was truly required; the ESA evaluation with a Licensed Mental health professional that could assist with recommendations beyond the letter.

​I began to see the misinformation that was being put out in the internet sphere that all you need to do is to register your animal to have it become an ESA. Or selling products over providing the required service of speaking with a Mental Health Professional and having a true evaluation to have the therapist certify that the person has a psychological diagnosis, like panic, social anxiety or specific phobia around flying, PTSD from war or traumatic experiences that significantly affect their life today and that their animals helps them.

To Summarize

  • For your letter to be legal you must talk to a licensed therapist or doctor.
  • The must prescribe an ESA animal for you.
  • If a company has no way to call or contact them in a timely fashion, that is a red flag.
  • If a company is ​MAINLY selling ESA products, that is a red flag.
  • Beware of cheaply priced ESA Letters.

​Now it's your turn...

Let's know your thoughts below. Have yu ever run across any ESA scam sites? What was your experience?

​Leave us a testimonial or comment

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