Better Business Bureau warns about buying pets online

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — You can buy almost anything online, but the Better Business Bureau says you shouldn’t shop for a new puppy on the internet.

The BBB’s scam tracker has seen an increase in fake puppy scams this holiday season and two of those latest victims were from the Mid-South.

One Mississippi woman thought she was paying $1,000 for an adorable puppy, but ended up with nothing.

“Anyone can post an ad on Craigslist and anyone can set up a Paypal account that can be deactivated at a moment’s notice so there’s just not a great trail to follow its really hard trying to track someone down who is specifically doing online scams to sell fake puppies,” said Memphis Animal Services director Alexis Pugh.

Scammers are creating websites with fake listings for puppies that don’t even exist.

The BBB said scammers ask for money using gift cards and payment apps like Zelle where you can transfer money directly to another person. So, once the money is gone, it’s gone for good.

Animal shelters said stories like this one are good reminders to consider adoptions which are safe and legitimate.

“Its frustrating, to be honest, its frustrating when we think about the fact of that so much education is out there about adopting pets, not shopping,” said Pugh.

The BBB and Pugh both agree that you should always do your research before you make a final decision.

“Even if you are going to make the ultimate choice to buy a pet from a breeder, come in here and we’ll walk you through the process and be a part of them... because if there’s anything we, we want people to get pets and keep them for life,” said Pugh.

The BBB said websites with cute puppies and no contact information are a big red flag.

Without a phone number or physical address, its almost impossible to follow up with the company if something goes wrong with the sale.