Officers with the DRPS Financial Crimes Unit are warning the public following an increase in puppy scams.
“Investigators in Durham Region have had over fifteen incidents reported in 2020 where the victim saw an ad online, responded to the ad, sent money with the presumption that they would receive a puppy and never receiving anything in return,” reads a media release.
“In some cases, the fraudster would ask for transport fees, custom fees or medical costs before the dog is delivered. Once the payment is made they continued to demand more money for fees of a non-existent pet.”
Police say that some of the advertisements would lure their victims with pictures and videos of cute pets. The fraudsters would also offer a pedigree pet at a real low cost. Most of the sellers will often claim that they moved further away and sometimes overseas.
“In one of the incidents, the victim lost over $1,800 for a puppy which he never received,” the media release reads.
To prevent yourself from becoming a victim, remember to:
– Make attempts to go in person to pick up the puppy;
– Do not send money before receiving your product from an unknown source;
– Check the website and do some research carefully to verify its legitimacy;
– Ask for references, not just testimonials on their website;
– Buy local if you can and if the price is too good to be true, it’s probably not true;
– Call the seller and speak to them in person, usually scammers will avoid this;
– Do not share personal or financial information;
– Perform an online reverse image search on the puppy image to see if it is linked to scams and other websites; and,
– Contact local reputable breeders and shelters.
The public is encouraged to report these incidents to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by calling 1-888-495-8501.