TAKING ACTION: Protect yourself from dog shipping scams this Christmas

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Christmas is the perfect time to add a new member to the family, usually one that comes with four paws. Unfortunately as parents look for their new puppies, they could easily fall victim to dog shipping scams.

The North Alabama Better Business Bureau said sadly they see these kinds of scams every year around the holidays. WHNT News 19 took action to learn about some red flags with this kind of scam.

When it comes to finding that perfect Christmas gift puppy, online scammers know how to take advantage of consumers.

"If you see an advertisement for a breed that you know is an expensive breed, yet it's being offered at a very, very low-cost, typically that's a red flag," said BBB President Elizabeth Garcia.

Garcia said research beforehand is imperative. She also encourages consumers to try to have some leverage with the seller. Don't pay the whole amount upfront.

"If the seller insists that you send money via wire transfer or any other immediate method of payment than that's another red flag," she said.

Garcia said most reputable breeders will supply you with all the information you need before they ship the dog.

"They will not be calling you afterwards to say 'oh I forgot this, you need to pay x amount' or something in order to have the dog shipped further," she said.

But if it's a dog you're looking for Huntsville Animal Services might be the place for you, no shipping required.

"We definitely encourage people to adopt locally because there are so many dogs here in Huntsville that are in desperate need of homes," said Will Roberson.

In order to help their animals find homes for the holidays, all adoption fees are waived through tomorrow.