You have to be on your guard 24/7 about everything during this pandemic. Hackers are working extra hard to get at your data. Everything down to trying to get a new family dog has the scammers working hard to separate you from your money.

The Better Business Bureau Scam department has seen a huge increase of puppy scams. Texans have spent almost $10,000 on puppies that never existed from March to April 2019, and $27,250 in 2020. Scammers are using the epidemic as a reason people can't see the dogs before sending the money.

Here are some tips on how to know you are making a real purchase. Make sure you actually see the animal you are paying for in person before any money changes hands. Avoid wiring money, this is always a dead giveaway. Do your homework. If you see an animal at a much lower price than other breeders, it could be a scammer using the price to lure you in.

All that aside, now is a perfect time to bring in that new family member. Just like over the summer, your kids will be home to enjoy and you'll be home to train them. Having a new puppy is like having a baby. There are lots of things that you will have to teach them.

Your local animal shelter has many great dogs, and for all you cool cats, they also have kittens. The Pets at the Nacogdoches Animal Shelter are so cute. You should really check out their facebook before ever thinking of paying for an expensive breed of dog or cat. You can be sure there are no scams there.