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Wisconsin BBB warns consumers of puppy scams during holiday season

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MILWAUKEE - The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to watch out for scams when shopping for pets online this holiday season.

According to a news release, reports of pet and puppy scams are on the rise. One BBB study found that many ads consumers encounter while searching for a pet online are actually scams.

Officials said reports of pet scams have increased 39% since the BBB first warned consumers of the problem in 2017.

The scams typically begin with a posting from someone claiming to be a breeder, or a distressed owner who is looking to find a new home for their pet. According to the BBB, the scammer usually asks for a wire transfer to complete the purchase. Rather than sending the pet out right away, the seller usually says there is some sort of unexpected problem, like airlines requiring a specific pet crate or expensive pet insurance.

“Scammers love to try to take advantage of people when they are in high-emotion situations,” says Jim Temmer, president, and CEO of the BBB serving Wisconsin. “The excitement of buying a new pet can cloud good judgment, and victims can be hurt financially and emotionally when they realize they have lost their money along with hopes for a new pet.”

The BBB recommends consumers arrange to meet with the seller in person whenever possible. Other tips include never sending money to people or companies you don't know and trust, researching what other consumers are saying and checking out petscams.com to see if a site has already been reported as a scam.

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