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.