Finding the right pet can get really complicated once scammers and shady breeders get involved.
We've gotten complaints from people who have found pets online and end up with animals who have expensive or even deadly illnesses. Others find the animal doesn't have the temperament that was advertised or just doesn't fit with the new family.
You can lessen the chance of it happening to you.
Bretta Nelson with the Arizona Humane Society says adopting from a shelter or rescue could give you insight into an animal's history. Was it abused? Is it prone to a particular illness? What kind of personality does the animal have?
If you decide to use a breeder or take your chances online, make sure to protect yourself.
Look for referrals for reputable breeders. Nelson says often legitimate breeders often don't advertise and will vet potential owners.
"Some have long application processes and (rules) for in the event an animal gets sick,"' she said.
She also suggests:
-insist on seeing the animal in person before paying for it
-if you use a breeder, insist on seeing the parent of your intended animal.
Also, look for signs of illness.
"If an animal is lethargic, vomiting, or has diarrhea, or appetite," Nelson said.
Regardless of where you get them Nelson suggests bringing family and potential pet siblings to meet and greet with the new animal.
Whatever you do, never, ever wire money or blindly pay for an animal you haven't checked out in person.