Avoiding ESA Scams and Fraud

When shopping on the Internet, we understand and share your concerns, so here's a simple rule to help you find legitimate ESA online businesses.

If a website is selling ESA vests, ID cards, certificates, along with "doctor recommended an" letters, just run away.


Watch Out For Red Flags

Many websites claim to “certify” or “register” emotional support animals. Any site claiming to certify your dog is a fraud, likely selling worthless paper and products to people who believe an ESA must be registered.

Unfortunately, our industry is filled with unscrupulous individuals and sketchy websites that are nothing more than offshore call centers. With that in mind, here’s a short list of red flags to consider when reviewing your options:

  • Dirt-cheap documentation
  • Instant certificates
  • ESA certificates
  • Lifetime letters

Emotional Support Animal “Registration” Services. Somehow their "animal registration card" confers magical legal rights to Mr. Fluffy. Totally bogus. Assistance animals are not required to be registered, there's no government agency oversight, there's no legitimate approved list.

Instant Approval. We find it unlikely that any reputable therapist or doctor would instantly approve an emotional support animal based.

Bargain or low cost verification letters. You get what you pay for ...

All of the above, in our opinion, is a dead giveaway, so caveat emptor.

Only licensed mental health care professionals and physicians are qualified to provide authentic and genuine ESA services.

Service Dog Registration

Be advised, in many states is it now a crime to refer to your untrained family pet as a “service dog.” If you spent money on service dog registration and certification, demand a refund.

Automated Online Services

Beware automated (24/7) online services claiming to provide “real” ESA letters of recommendation.

Avoiding Internet scams, and they’re all over the place.

There are plenty of other Internet-based ESA letter services, some legit, some not.

In general, we’ve found online companies offering instant approval, lifetime letters, or animal registrations to be a scam, as their letters are not legally binding. Even worse, they may very well be breaking the law.

Every day we sadly hear horror stories, read deceitful emails from our competition, and sympathize with those who have (incorrectly) placed their trust in deceitful online ESA vendors.

America’s #1 ESA Letter.

Enjoy 1,000 therapists across the globe.

Housing Letters

At ESAD, not only will you receive our perfected ESA letter, you'll have access to our fair housing expert who'll make this process as smooth-sailing as possible.

Travel Letters

Since 2015, thanks to our rigid protocols and adherence to the strictest ethics in the business, we’ve never had a single travel letter rejected.

Here are a few red flags to might help you avoid pitfalls and traps.

Do I need to use an “ESA registration” site?

No, that’s not a legal requirement for an ESA, and quite often, those sites are a complete scam.

Will I need additional accessories like vests and an ID card?

Again no, not a legal requirement.

That being said, we recommend making your assistance animal easily distinguishable, particularly when flying.

Many airlines agree.

A brightly-colored ESA vest can help indicate to landlords and airline personnel that your ESA is more than just a pet.

We suggest the Emotional Support Dog Harness With Reflective Straps (on Amazon).

Beware of false advertising.

Recently, a popular online vendor sent an email informing us, “Did you know that airlines are now requiring all travelers to bring their Emotional Support Animals in an approved ESA travel bag?”

And great news, they’ve got a bag to sell you — for $100!


A review of Southwest Airlines reveals (as we knew beforehand) there is no demand for this sort of nonsense. It’s all a money grab, a ruse to pad the ESA vendor’s bottom line.

Responding back, we ask for an explanation, to which they replied, “That’s actually becoming more true, as time goes by because of rising concerns for the safety of other passengers & Pets also on the plane. BUT it’s still not considered as Mandatory, as of now.”

First, it’s required. Now, it’s not mandatory, but becoming more true.

Unhappy with the reply, we email, “How was that not false advertising, and why would I want to do business with your company if you engage in such practices?”

Pet registrations are a scam.

Don’t, just don’t. Whatever you do, please don’t register your ESA pet, as EVERY SINGLE registration is a scam.

Under law, an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) provides therapeutic benefit to its owner through affection and companionship. ESAs are not required to be registered nor have specialized training.

Never use a pet certificate.

Completely worthless — avoid using them at all cost, as they’re a dead giveaway you’ve dealt with a letter mill.

A Medical Doctor needs to sign the letter.


Here’s the governing Federal regulations for that, “Accordingly, persons who are seeking a reasonable accommodation for an Emotional Support Animal may be required to provide documentation from a physician, psychiatrist, social worker, or other mental health professional that the animal provides support that alleviates at least one of the identified symptoms or effects of the existing disability.”

Looking for an ESA letter this week?

Getting a genuine ESA letter is simple! Place an order, take an online mental health exam, and speak with a local licensed clinician who will approve your order.

Enjoy same day service, amazing client care, and state of the art protection for your protected health and financial transaction information.