Beware of online pet scams, Better Business Bureau warns

Beware of pet scams this holiday season, says the Better Business Bureau. / Source: (MGN)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- In search of a new pet this holiday season?

Before you buy your new furry friend, experts say you might want to do some research.

"We would tell you that this is not the best time of year to get a pet and certainly if you do want to do it. You need to be aware that these pet and puppy scams are just ramped," said Jessie Schmidt, Better Business Bureau state director. "Sometimes people are out thousands of dollars in an effort to get the perfect pet for their family.

The BBB says since 2017, fake pet scam reports have increased by nearly 40 percent and online advertisements are the main source of these scams.

According to the BBB, more than 5,000 complaints and scam reports were registered about sellers of dogs, kittens, birds, reptiles and other pets.

Schmidt says, "If somebody is selling a pet, a pure breed, at a price that seems not reasonable for that breed, that's what you want to be aware of."

Schmidt warns of not trying to fall for the scam within the scam.

"Initially they may say, 'Here's the perfect puppy! We don't do the transportation; we work through this animal transportation company. Which is a second scam," said Schmidt.

If you can not see the pet in-person do not buy it.

"You want to take a look at what their kennels look like. You want to look at the health of the dog. It's never a good idea to wire money to buy a pet from across the country," said Schmidt.

Schmidt says the best option to buy a pet is through your local pet shelter.

Click here to learn more about how to protect yourself from pet scams.

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