This time of the year people love getting new puppies as a holiday gift. But the Better Business Bureau is warning holiday shoppers about fake pet and puppy scams. 

A BBB study found that many of the ads you may see online are scams and anyone looking online for a pet is extremely likely to encounter one. 

In the last 3 years, the BBB says they’ve received nearly 16,000 complaints. 

Sometimes scammers claim they are breeders or pet sellers. Other times, they pretend they’re a distraught owner who just had to find a new home for their pup. Once you inquire about it, the scammer then will ask you to wire money through services like Western Union or Money Gram. 

Here are some tips from the BBB to make sure you’re not puppy scammed: 

Tip One: Inspect the Pet yourself. Most legitimate breeds would welcome a visit. 

Tip Two: Never send money via Western Union and Money Gram to people or companies you don’t know and trust. That’s because once the money is write, it’s gone for good. The same goes for Prepaid Debit Cards or Gift Cards. 

Tip Three: Research prices for the breed you want. 

If someone advertises a purebred dog for free or a deeply discounted price, you could be dealing with a fraudulent offer. 

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