CHICAGO (WLS) -- More people from the area have fallen victim to a puppy scam, according to the Chicago Better Business Bureau.
This is one of the fastest-growing schemes, the BBB said.
In many cases, people find pets on social media pages or breeder websites. They see pictures, select the puppy they want to buy and then they're instructed to send money to the breeder to reserve the pet.
But when it's time to have the pet shipped or pick up the puppy, consumers in many cases can no longer reach the so-called breeder, and they realized they've been scammed.
This happened to a woman in Geneva last month.
The BBB said in 2017 consumers saw more than $400,000 in losses. This year, the BBB expects more than $3 million in losses. The COVID-19 pandemic has led more people to search for furry companions, but it had also led to more pet scams, according to the BBB.
So how can pet lovers avoid this?
Don't pay money for a pet you haven't seen in-person, and understand that many pet photos online are taken from other pages.
Chicago BBB issues new warning about puppy scams, expects over $3M in losses this year