Puppies used in latest advance-payment scam

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puppy scam surfaces The lure of a cute little puppy. It is a weakness that many animal lovers have succumbed to. And now it's now being used as bait for a variation of the time-tested advance-payment scam.

Animal lovers beware: the Oregon Attorney General's office is warning about this scam after it surfaced in that state. The ASPCA has a page dedicated to educating people about avoiding this kind of scam.

Here's how it works. The scammer places an ad for a puppy (or a purebred dog) that needs a home. The ad says the dog is free to whomever can give it a good home. Then comes the catch. Once the contact is made, the person who supposedly has the dog requests that money be wired to cover the transportation costs of safely getting the puppy to its new home.

"The puppy scam relies on the best intentions of animal lovers," the attorney general's office wrote in its warning.

Oregon officials said there is another, similar variation involving people who claim to be from a group that rescues dogs from puppy mills. Instead, officials said, it is the puppy mill itself running the ads -- asking for upwards of $1,000 in some cases to "save" the dogs.

The best way to avoid scams like this it to never wire money to anyone you don't know. And, if you are serious about adopting an animal it is important to meet it in-person before deciding on adoption -- not have it shipped by a stranger.

There are plenty of places to legitimately get a new pet -- including purebreds. Check out this site to get an idea of how many are available from established organizations and shelters.

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