LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Just in time for the holidays, the public is being warned about a puppy scam that can bilk thousands of dollars from unsuspecting hopeful pet owners.
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer says scammers can bait victims through websites like Facebook or Craigslist.
After the victim pays an initial fee for the puppy they intend to buy, the scammer gives live updates on the delivery and gets the victim to pay additional fees.
Most victims never get a puppy. Others get different dogs with health problems.
"Imagine how disappointed a child might be when they've gotten the expectation that this puppy is on the way, only to get those hopes dashed when there's no pet at all and their parents have been ripped off," Feuer said.
Officials say a safer and better alternative is to visit one of six LA city animal care centers and adopt.
Watch out for online puppy scams during holidays, LA city attorney warns