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Avoid puppy scammers from bogus online pet sellers this holiday season

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ST. LOUIS - The Better Business Bureau reminds consumers to be aware of the potential for fraud from bogus online pet sellers this holiday season.

According to the BBB, an online study of puppy scams found that nearly 80 percent of pay-per-click advertising in internet searches for pets may be scams, with consumers in their teens and 20s most susceptible to these scams.

BBB offers the following advice:

● Avoid puppy scammers. Scammers may make an emotional appeal to unsuspecting consumers, commonly through a classified newspaper or online ads. A better way to find a good breeder is to ask friends for referrals or consider looking for a rescue group or animal shelter. Always check out the firm`s BBB business profile at bbb.Org. Read the results of a BBB investigation of one puppy scammer to familiarize yourself further with puppy scam techniques.

● Don't be fooled by a well-designed website. Unscrupulous scammers will often create a professional-looking but fraudulent website designed to lure potential buyers with cute puppy pictures they have downloaded from other breeders` websites.

● If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Beware of scammers who offer to "re-home" their purebred puppy in exchange for transportation or vaccination fees. If a free purebred puppy sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Scammers will continually

● Don`t wire money to a stranger.

● Request to see the puppy in person. Consider doing a reverse search on any photo to see if it`s used on other sites.

● Check a breeder or shelter`s credentials. If you locate a puppy through a website, do not send money without speaking to the breeder and checking references and credentials first. Ask if the breeder is a member of an American kennel club-affiliated club, and contact the club to verify membership.

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