UNION COUNTY, N.C. -- As the holiday season approaches, many people might be thinking about buying a pet as a gift but crooks are lurking behind some of those cute pet photos you see online.

“If he’s watching this he should just come down and talk to us about it because we’re going to get him anyway,” Union County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Tony Underwood said.

He’s talking about a man caught on surveillance camera at an Indian Trail in Walmart, cashing a check for $700.

It was sent to him from Judy Philips.

She was promised a brown Maltipoo puppy, in exchange, but never got it.

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In fact the puppy, named Rachelle, is still listed as available on the scammer’s website.

NBC Charlotte’s Rachel Brown sent an email to the supposed seller Tuesday night asking if the dog was still available.

He said yes.

Early Wednesday morning he followed up with a text. He the dog would be available for pick up one he received a $250 deposit through Walmart or Western Union.

“It was disheartening to start with. It didn't surprise me. This jerk is still out there and obviously going strong,” Philips said.

Police say these online scams reach far beyond pets.

“There’s always that potential no matter what the item is that you’re shopping for. If it’s a legitimate business they’re not going to hesitate to provide you some sense of security that they are who they say they are,” Underwood said.

According to a recent report by the Better Business Bureau, “At least 80 percent of the sponsored advertising links in an internet search for pets may be fraudulent.”

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