WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - If you have ever seen an ad on the web for free puppies, there is an 80% chance it is a scam.
"The puppy we picked out was the same personality we're looking for," said Judy Stroy.
Judy and her husband wanted a beagle puppy. They searched the web to find one.
She sent $400 through a Moneygram at Walmart.
"The next day, they requested another $750 for pet insurance. I said, 'whoa red flag. This isn't working'. So, I refused to pay the pet insurance," said Stroy.
The Stroys were scammed out of their money but figured it out before any more was taken.
"The problem is larger than we originally thought, says Monica Horton with the North Texas Better Business Bureau.
Horton told us when you search online it's hard not to find a scam.
"It's very prevalent online. You are not going to be able to do a search online and not come into contact with one of the fraudulent websites," said Horton.
We asked how do you avoid it?? One way is to make sure you physically see the pet beforehand.
"You want to show up and check out the breeder and make sure you're not dealing with a puppy mill," said Horton. "In all of these situations, the consumer was asked to wire money via the Western Union or provide numbers of a pre-paid debit card. So, avoid wiring money."
There is one more way you can check online. If you are sent a picture of a puppy or find one you like, you can Google search that picture.
Several scam victims say they found the same picture of the puppy they were supposed to get, had been published years before on a different website.
Remember buying a pet is an emotional decision, but don't let your heart talk your head into ignoring the red flags barking in your brain.