GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- A new report by the Better Business Bureau says the majority of online ads to buy a puppy are scams.
The BBB says 80 percent of sponsored ad links in search results for a pet may be frauds and there could be thousands of victims.
"I got an email from a shipping company and it said you're required to pay 1,500 additional. When I looked at the shipping company, it was the same guy I bought the puppy from. I knew I was scammed," said Danny Shelton, who lost $700 in the scam.
The BBB says thieves often insist on e-mail and text correspondence and refuse requests to meet in person or see the animal before paying.
The report says the scams appear to originate in the West African country of Cameroon and use workers in the U.S. to pick up wire payments sent through Western Union or MoneyGram.
To protect yourself the BBB advises people to carefully research any business, see the puppy in person, and never wire money.
Another old scam that's popping up as the temperatures drop is a phone call from a person claiming to be from the utility company, telling businesses the power is going to get shut off in an hour unless a payment is made.
In a 24 hour period, WPS says there were more than 100 phone scam attempts by people impersonating WPS employees earlier this week.
The scammers are using real company numbers that show up as WPS on caller ID, even playing a recording of the company greeting.
WPS won't call and demand payment or ask you to pay with a prepaid card.
If you get one of these calls, call the WPS 24-hour customer service line.