Pet scams are America’s number one Internet ripoff, according to the Better Business Bureau, and something to watch out for as this holiday season approaches.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app

An Orchard Park woman, unfortunately, found that out and ending up contacting our friends at WIVB-TV.

A feeling of isolation and loneliness during six months of the pandemic is leading many of us, to look for companionship, and often times a pet is the answer.

Melanie McGovern of the Better Business Bureau warns that scammers have an eye out for just that.

Scammers have found this a golden opportunity.

“In our Scam Tracker, under online purchase scams, pet scams is the number one sub-category because a lot of people across North America fell for this scam.”

Alyssa Bartlomiejczak spent over $2,000 for a puppy she never got. She was trying to buy a pet for her one-year-old daughter.

Alyssa said the cost of the puppy was $950, but at the last minute, she got an email identified as the air carrier for the puppy demanding $1,300 for shipping on the Google Pay app. Alyssa used prepaid debit cards but soon realized this was an elaborate hoax.

“I’m like I’ve got to get this money off your cards as soon as possible. Like I am getting scammed. All my money is gone, literally all the money I have to my name, I don’t have no more money anymore because of these people.”

For the best results, Melanie McGovern advises start local.. find a certified breeder, or adopt a pet from the SPCA.

“You want to be able to go see the dog, to see how that dog interacts with you. A lot of people might not get along with certain animals, or certain animals might not get along people. So you want to make sure that animals will get along with you and your family.”

Bartlomiejczak is working with the Police and Google Pay in an effort to get her $950 back as well as attempting to cancel the $1,300 in prepaid debit cards–that was money she had earmarked for Christmas.