A cute and cuddly puppy is on many a kid's holiday list, but officials are warning consumers to be alert about new puppy scams on the rise.
They are soft, furry and loyal--- a best friend with four paws.
"We have a deaf Great Dane and I thought maybe it would be a good idea to get her a sister," said Katie Wells, the victim of a pet scam.
Jeff and Katie Wells paid around $750 for a dog they found online, but soon realized it was a scam.
"I was emotional because I was already had my heart set on that little, little girl. She was sweet, you know," Katie said.
But the Wells aren't alone.
The Better Business Bureau said pet scams are on track to account for about 18% of "online shopping frauds" this year, costing consumers more than $2 million.
"Scammers are really smart, right? They follow the money. They would not be trying to wedge their way into the market if the market didn't exist," said Josh Planos, with the Better Business Bureau.
So how can you protect yourself? Experts say to get documentation. Reputable sellers will have lots of information about your dog, its health, its parents.
A trust-worthy seller will be available to talk to you on the phone and Facetime, and not only via email or text.
Pay attention to the price of the pup. If the price for the breed is "too good to be true," chances are something is amiss.
Scammers play on the emotion of adding another member to the family.
"How could you come up with a better gift for someone than a furry friend? Just brings a smile to your face every time you see a pet," Planos said.
The Wells did eventually get their happy ending after finding their new Great Danes Ursula and Eir.
"They're part of the family and we just love them to death," Jeff said.