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How to Spot a Fake ESA Letter

Emotional support animals are necessary companions to many, and the benefits and relief that these comfort animals bring can be essential to their owners. It is important to receive a valid ESA letter from a mental healthcare provider if you wish to own an ESA and have any accommodation request you make honored. This means that you also need to know how to spot a fake ESA letter to ensure that your emotional support animal is valid and that you don’t accidentally get scammed trying to ensure you receive your protected ESA rights.

Our article gives you tips on how to spot a fake ESA letter and how to spot a fake ESA website to ensure that any emotional support animal letter you receive is valid and sure to help you make your ESA accommodation requests.

Why Do I Need an ESA Letter?

Emotional support animal (ESA) letters are essential when it comes to requesting housing accommodations for yourself and your ESA. You will need a valid ESA letter that states your need and is signed by your mental healthcare provider before you can officially request housing accommodation under the Fair Housing Act. Any requests made without this letter are not required to be followed, and you may end up adhering to breed restrictions, pet fees, and pet restrictions that the protections of the Fair Housing Act exclude you from.

The first step to receiving an emotional support animal letter and making your ESA valid is meeting with a mental healthcare provider licensed in your state. They can evaluate your needs and further guide you through this process.

How Can I Tell a Fake ESA Letter?

Fake ESA letters may often be difficult to spot, especially if you aren’t familiar with what these letters should look like. Below, we give you some items to look out for that can indicate the ESA letter you are dealing with isn’t valid:

  • The language of the ESA letter is inconsistent, referring to the animal with different names or using terms that don’t apply, such as ‘service animal’
  • Basic details are missing, such as the name of the individual writing the letter and their license information
  • The ESA letter appears templated, has bad grammar or incorrect sentence structure, or appears to be copied and pasted
  • The ESA letter is not written on the official letterhead of a mental healthcare provider
  • The ESA letter states more rights for the ESA that are protected by state and federal laws, such as the right to take the emotional support animal anywhere

You should also note that ESA letters must be written by a mental healthcare provider licensed in your state. Any letter that doesn’t meet this requirement is automatically considered fake or invalid.

Red Flags to Look For With an ESA Letter

As you start to become more familiar with spotting a fake emotional support animal letter, it’s also important to keep in mind how to tell a fake or deceptive ESA website. Many websites are appearing these days that promise instant emotional support animal registration, certificates, and other ‘valid’ materials, though these generally don’t adhere to state or federal emotional support animal laws.

Remember, you must always check with state laws surrounding your emotional support animal, and you will need to meet with a mental healthcare provider that is licensed in your state to discuss your emotional support animal needs. Only a mental healthcare provider can write you a valid ESA letter that you can use to request accommodations.

Signs of a deceptive or fraud ESA website to look out for include:

  • Websites that request a large amount of money upfront
  • Websites that offer templated ESA letters or certificates
  • Websites where you pay for a letter without meeting with a mental healthcare professional
  • Websites with poor design, bad grammar, and plenty of options to input personal data that could potentially be stolen

If you ever have any doubt about an ESA letter website, check reviews or only trust scores to determine if the website is worth using. Any ESA letters that are not written by a mental healthcare provider you have had a meeting with are generally not valid.

How to Get a Valid Emotional Support Animal Letter

Receiving a valid emotional support animal letter might seem like a confusing process at first, especially when so many websites and online services are offering instant ESA letters for a certain price. However, these letters are unlikely to be honored when you go to request accommodations for your ESA, and paying for one may put you in a tricky situation or even leave you as the victim of an unfortunate scam.

The only way to get a valid emotional support animal letter is to meet with a mental healthcare provider who is licensed in your state. They can help you by listening to your concerns and working with you to craft a treatment plan that may include an emotional support animal. In some states, you will need at least a thirty-day relationship with your mental healthcare provider before you are approved for an emotional support animal.

Once you have been evaluated and approved for an ESA, your mental healthcare provider will give you a signed and valid emotional support animal letter. This letter can then be used to request your reasonable emotional support animal accommodations as needed.

Ensuring Your Emotional Support Animal Is Valid

Emotional support animals are helpful companions, and many individuals need to ensure they live with their ESA to keep receiving the benefits that these comfort animals bring. It may seem tempting to purchase an online ESA letter and receive it instantly, but doing this will often leave you with a fake ESA letter that cannot be used to request accommodations.

Instead, keep your eye out for fake ESA letter websites and fake ESA letters. Meet with a mental healthcare provider to discuss your condition and your options for adding an emotional support animal to your treatment plan to make sure your ESA is valid and your accommodations requests are honored.

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