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Puppy scam on the rise ahead of Christmas

Puppy scams are typically on the rise this time of year, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made things even worse, as people shop online for a new pet.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — If someone you know has a puppy on their wish list this year, be sure to make a safe decision where you purchase that puppy, otherwise you could pay a big price. 

Puppy scams are typically on the rise this time of year, but the COVID-19 pandemic has only made it worse. The Better Business Bureau says puppy scamming is at an all-time high and they're putting out a warning for anyone looking to add a furry friend to the family this holiday season.

Tom Bartholomy sees this a lot. In at least one other southeast BBB market, eight to 10 puppy scams were reported to the BBB in the last three months alone, the average losses being around $1,000.

In 2020, the BBB Scam Tracker received nearly 4,000 pet fraud reports from around the country and about $3 million in losses, money that isn't refundable.

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If you choose to deal with puppy sellers online, beware. Pictures can be deceiving, documentation can be forged and during COVID-19, you'll have a tougher time getting money back, if ever. The worst thing you can do is fall in love with a pup over the internet.

One way to stay away from pet fraud is to adopt local instead.

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"One of the great things too about when you adopt from a shelter is that they'll be examined by our veterinarian they come spayed, neutered, microchipped and vaccinated," Lindsay Leyendecker explained. "If you do get a pet from an unknown source you may have to take them right to the vet and pay for those things upfront. So you will be saving yourself some money and saving a life in the process."