ONLINE BUYER BEWARE: Pet scams are a real problem right now

Criminals are taking advantage of good hearted people. They are using fake pictures of dogs and cats supposedly abandoned during national disasters in order to bilk people out of millions of dollars.

A new report by the Better Business Bureau shows at least 80-percent of advertising links in an internet search for pets may be fraudulent. There are hundreds, possibly thousands of fake websites offering pets for sale and the criminals behind these sites all prey on a victim’s heartstrings.

Plainfield father Mike Wilborn says his daughter found a picture of an English bulldog online and fell in love. She was almost duped out of $650.

Wilborn did what experts suggest. He did a Google search and found the same exact pictures of the puppy posted on Pinterest in 2008.

Experts say there are other red flags, like never agreeing to meet in person.

And another cause for concern is using wire transfers as a form of payment.

Experts say the best say to catch a criminal is to call the BBB when you are still in contact with them.

Once the transaction is made, there is not much they can do to help consumers other than spread awareness.