PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The holiday season is the time of year when puppy sales spike. However, while your family may be looking to buy or adopt a furry friend, it’s also the time of year that scam artists are looking to make a quick buck.
Before Bo joined Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s family, his wife and kids had found another puppy online.
“The gentleman was asking for money up front. When we followed up via email and asked for a copy of the contract, some photos of the dog, medical history, all of the things that reasonably are things that should be turned over to a would-be purchaser, the person refused to provide it,” Shapiro said. “He said, ‘We would be forced to pay a downpayment in order to get that information.’ So, quickly my A-G antenna went up and said, ‘This must be a scam.'”
In fact, the Better Business Bureau estimates more than three-quarters of the websites that advertise puppies for sale, aren’t real.
And that dog the Shapiro family was interested in?
“He was probably some clip art picture of a puppy and not a real puppy and thankfully we didn’t get scammed and, instead, we found Bo,” Shapiro said.
Whether you’re buying a dog or adopting one, there are signs to look out for so you don’t get scammed. Among them include:
- online ads offering too-good-to-be-true prices for popular breeds
- being asked to pay for transportation costs by way of a wire transfer to a third party
- and high-pressure sales tactics asking that money we sent immediately to reserve a puppy
“We just want Pennsylvanians to be careful, be vigilant and to be mindful of the fact that there are more scams than ever out there,” Shapiro said.
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