12 Scams of Christmas: Phony pet breeder

(WJAR)

How much for that doggie in the browser?

$500 bucks? That's a steal!

“This kind of scam people fall for,” warns author of Identity Theft Alert and Bentley University professor Steve Weisman.

Weisman says the phony pet breeder scam dupes prospective puppy parents every Christmas.

“It's just so easy to take a photo of a beautiful dog from an online breeder, maybe even copy their entire website, and have people come to you,” explains Weisman.

The problem is, there's no puppy. And once you've forked over the cash, the scammer bleeds you dry.

“And then you often pay and pay – I'm paying for the dog, ‘we need a special crate to ship him, we need extra money for a vet’,” says Weisman, listing the additional payments fake puppy breeders often ask for.

The reality is you shouldn't be buying pets sight unseen.

But if a picture of an online breeder's puppy has already stolen your heart, at least do a little digging before you open your wallet.

“Take the pictures that you see, there are ways of matching them up online to see where else these pictures have appeared, and if suddenly you see the picture from your breeder appearing on other breeders, you know there’s a problem,” says Weisman.

You perform a reverse image search by right clicking on the image, then click “Search Google for this image.”

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