The Sweetwater County Sheriff's Office is warning people to be careful about buying puppies or other pets online.

That's according to a post on the agency's Facebook page. According to the post, scams involving pets for sale are pretty common these days:

''the Better Business Bureau estimates that nearly 1,500 puppy scams in 2022 cost people more than $1 million dollars.''

In fact, the BBB says the profiles of pets being advertised online are often fakes:

''Reports show there are thousands of people around the country, and the world, who have become victims of pet scams, and many of these typically begin with a fake web site and stolen photos, often taken from a legitimate site.

Greedy “sellers” rarely are satisfied with stealing a few hundred dollars from their victims and most will demand additional payments until the buyer finally becomes suspicious or runs out of funds.''

The sheriff's office is advising people to arrange to see the puppy or other pet in person before ever sending money to anyone.

But it says the best policy is to do business in person and avoid the possibility of being scammed altogether.

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