Buyer beware, even when it comes to puppies, warns South Simcoe Police

Investigators Say Online Seller Blocking Buyers After Payment Clears

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.