The ANNA Shelter is no stranger to pet adoption scams. Recently, a man from California called them to verify the existence of a dog he had already paid a deposit on. "He said I've already paid a deposit. She sent me her ID. Can you just go lay eyes on the dog?” said founder and owner of ANNA, Ruth Thompson.

In this case, Thompson and the cruelty officer at ANNA went to the address listed on the ID the California man was sent.

“It was the woman that answered the door. She had no idea what we were talking about. She didn't have Bulldog puppies. Ended up doing some research into the whole thing. She had been scammed a year ago trying to buy a Yorkie puppy from the same people,” said Thompson.

The Better Business Bureau issued a scam alert warning people adopting dogs from the internet. "We're all shopping online these days,” said Melanie Duquesnel with BBB.

The organization estimates more than three quarters of websites advertising puppies for sale are fake, but there are things you can do to make sure your potential pooch is real.

If you're planning on buying a dog through a breeder, or somewhere online, make sure there's someone trusted in the area that can go lay eyes on the dog before you actually spend any money. This can be volunteers at a shelter or a vet’s office. "Look around the facility. Make sure it's a decent place and not a puppy mill where you see thousands of puppies all over the place,” said Duquesnel.

BBB recommends doing an internet search of the animal's image. If it shows up on multiple sites, it's probably a scam.

“It's so important to do your homework. Do your research. Get out there and see where your puppy is being bred and who's raising it,” said Thompson.

Don’t send money to strangers through mobile wallets like Venmo or Zelle. Only send money to people you know.

Click here for the BBB’s full report on pet adoption scams.

All of the ANNA Shelter animals featured in this story are, or will be, up for adoption. Contact them here to rescue a new friend.