CLEVELAND -- The Cuyahoga County Scam Squad wants you to beware of scammers using puppies to get your money.
It usually starts with scammers posting pictures of cute puppies online.
When someone reaches out to try and buy the dog, they ask you to make an initial payment or deposit, even before you ever get to see the dog. From there scammers keep asking for additional money to cover shots and other fees.
According to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine the top signs of a puppy scam include:
- Offers that are too good to be true, such as paying $650 for a puppy that's actually valued at $1,300.
- Sellers who require payment via wire transfer or money order.
- Extra costs for airline pet insurance or a temperature-controlled crate.
- Unexpected delivery problems requiring additional payment.
- Threats that you’ll be turned in for animal abuse or neglect if you don’t pay.
- The scams aren't always easy to spot.
"These scam websites simply copy photos they get from legit website, put them up on their website and try to make you think these puppies are waiting for you to take them home," said Sue McConnell, Better Business Bureau.
The best way to avoid a scam is to do your research and only buy from legitimate breeders who allow you to interact with the puppy first.
There are also plenty of dogs looking for new homes in local shelters.