Seasons Cheatings! The hills are alive with the sound of scammers.

Recently, the Federal Trade Commission issued a scam warning for National Pet Adoption Week. This season is a time of the year when many consider pets as great holiday gifts, but scammers see opportunity. Well-designed websites or social media posts advertise pet adoptions (aka purchases) as perfect family gifts. Stock photos display fake details, including mention of pedigree credentials and appropriateness for “loving” families.

Knowing that pets with credentials can run in the thousands of dollars, criminals guarantee expedited delivery but require payment by Venmo, gift card, wire service or even cryptocurrency. Once payment occurs, the “breeder” is gone, and the untraceable payment vanishes. Avoiding this type of scam requires both diligence and persistence but is worth the time and effort to ensure that you end up with the desired friend.

Begin checking local rescue or animal shelters on line or preferably in person. Adoptions carry a small fee, and in most cases the pet will be vaccinated and spayed or neutered. Research the adoption service or breeder. Check the Better Business Bureau for any ratings. You can also use an online search engine adding the word “complain” or “scam” or “rating” to the name of the agency.

According to the FTC, your…

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