South Simcoe Police are warning you to be wary when in the market for a new four-legged friend.
The Service has received several reports of late, from residents who made deposits towards the purchase of a puppy through an online ad. Once the e-transfer payment is complete, police say the seller has been blocking buyers or ignoring messages altogether.
According to South Simcoe Police, the best way to avoid a puppy scam is don’t buy a pet without seeing it in person and to be wary of these red flags:
- Prices are too good to be true, or the price is negotiable, on sale or at a discounted price
- Puppy is free if you pay for shipping
- Seller won’t talk on the phone and only communicates through emails or texts
- The only way to get the puppy is to have it shipped to you, and you can’t pick it up
- You must pay by money transfer or prepaid debit card
- After you make a payment, there are suddenly more expenses (e.g., shipping insurance, vet bills, crate fees, etc.)
- The puppy’s photo is in other ads
If you must purchase a pet online, search the seller’s name and contact information with the words “scam” and “complaint” before you part with your cash. If you are a victim, report the scam to police.