If your family is looking to add a new furry member to your family, be careful! According to the Better Business Bureau, as reported by 13 WREX, there is an online puppy scam going on. The BBB has stated that it is a West-African-based scheme that has people impersonating pet-sellers, posting pictures of pets, then taking money orders for pets they have no intention of selling.

The BBB became aware of this scheme after a Plainfield man reported to them that he almost lost $650 through a money order after his daughter saw a puppy online. The would-be consumer did some online investigating and found the exact same picture on a Pinterest page from 2008. Thankfully he had seen this before sending out the money order.

Dennis Horton, Rockford Regional Office Manager of the BBB, has stated that this operation is more organized and widespread than he had originally thought.  A study has said that these thieves impersonate pet seller, then instruct would be buyers to pay for things upfront. Including shipping of the pet, insurance, and other fees associated with transporting animals.

It's estimated by the BBB that tens of thousands of consumers have fallen victim to the scam already. So again, if you're looking to add a new furry member to your family BE CAREFUL! Please try to adopt locally first.

Getty Images/Flickr RF