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Scam of the Week: Man’s Best Friend is a Scammer’s Best Bait

With stay-at-home orders in place across the globe, many people are buying new pets to help them feel more connected. Unfortunately, shoppers who are looking for a furry friend may be in for a big surprise. Cybercriminals are creating phony online pet shops that advertise unbelievable prices on purebred pups.

These malicious pet shop sites include poorly-written testimonials from alleged buyers that often don’t make sense. For example, one testimonial claimed that their “German Shepherd baby had hatched”. If you overlook these phony testimonials and click the “Buy Me!” button under the photo of an adorable puppy, you’ll be taken to a contact page to begin your email conversation with the supposed seller. Via email, the scammers will ask you to pay for your pup using Bitcoin or a service provider, such as Paypal. Of course, any money you send goes straight to the bad guys and you’ll never receive your pup.

Here are some tips to avoid this ruff scam:
• Always be wary of websites with poorly-written information, including testimonials and reviews from customers.
• Remember, if a price sounds too good to be true—it is! Purchasing a purebred dog is typically very expensive, so scammers are trying to use low prices to trick you into acting impulsively.
• If you are in the market for a new pet, be sure to research the rescue shelter, pet adoption agency, or licensed breeder before making a purchase.

Stop, Look, and Think. Don’t be fooled.