Looking for a new pet? You may want to think twice about following up on an ad for an expensive breed of dog offered for a low price. These ads often appear with an irresistible photo of a puppy in newspapers or on websites, Craig's List, or Facebook. It typically works like this: The scammer posts the ad and has you pay for shipping via wire transfer. But no puppy is sent, because there really isn't one (those adorable photos are often stock images). There are variations on this scam — maybe the scammer asks you to pay for "fees" rather than shipping — but you get the idea.
To avoid being a victim, ask for additional photos, a phone number, and registration information from the seller. If those pieces aren't forthcoming, don't act on the ad. Never send money to another country, and never pay via cash or wire transfer. Watch for poor grammar or ads that seem "off" in the way they're worded. Finally, be wary of sellers that are anxious to sell a pet quickly.