PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Puppies can make people with even the coldest heart crack a smile, but getting one for Christmas is risky.
On day 12 of our "12 Scams of Christmas," puppy scams can turn around and bite you.
The reactions, when it works out, are great, but getting someone a puppy for Christmas will sometimes put you in the dog house.
Puppy scams skyrocketed during the pandemic and there are still plenty around the holiday season, according to reports.
The Better Business Bureau says about 80% of online sponsored pet ads are fraudulent. That's why puppy scams made their list of the "12 Scams of Christmas."
"It's always important to meet the puppy in person if you can," Kelsey Coleman, the director of communications at the Better Business Bureau for Metro Philly and Eastern Pennsylvania said.
The Federal Trade Commission reports most victims are in their 20s and 30s.
The breeds most likely to be scams are Yorkshire Terriers and French Bulldogs.
There are plenty of red flags, though, when finding your new family member.
"If there start to be additional fees, like an additional crate, insurance, that can be a big red flag," Coleman said.
If you can't meet the pet in person, do a reverse image search of the photo of the pet and see how long that photo has been around, Coleman said.
Also, talk to your local shelter! There are plenty of pets available for adoption there too.