If you are looking to add a dog to your family this holiday season, beware of the many puppy scams that are circulating. Be especially aware if you are looking to purchase a puppy online. Here's what to look for. 'Tis the season to buy a furry friend to add to your family. Because of the Christmas season, scammers are taking advantage of online shoppers who are looking for a puppy.

According to WKBW, pet scams are costing Upstate New Yorkers between six hundred and twenty-one hundred dollars. There have been four thousand complaints of fake pet websites costing consumers upwards of two to three million dollars per year, according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Melanie McGovern, who is the Communications Director at the Better Business Bureau said,

Unfortunately, scammers knew that as well, and took advantage and put up fake websites. Took payments and then all of a sudden there is no dog.

To avoid getting scammed, one of the biggest signs is that the puppies are available right away. Most, if not all, breeders have a waitlist. They also do extensive background checks, interviews, and other things to make sure the buyers are serious. If the dogs are ready to go within a week or two, that should be a red flag.

Also, look for the scammers making third party payments like money orders. They will also ask for more money than originally agreed upon for things like special crates or insurance.

You should be able to ask for a Facetime call and see the actual puppy that you will be getting. This way, you won't just get stock photos of a dog you are potentially getting.

The BBB has a scam tracker to confirm the legitimacy of the website. You can also check out PetScams.com.

To avoid any of these scams, the BBB is encouraging those looking to get a dog to look at a local animal shelter first.

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