South Simcoe Police investigating more cases of pet and gift card fraud

Victims were duped out of $1,000

South Simcoe Police have issued another alert about pet and gift card frauds after two residents lost about $1,000.

One sent an email transfer of funds as a down payment after seeing an online ad for a dog. She has since been blocked by the person who placed the ad.

The other received an email that appeared to be from a friend in need. It asked for hundreds of dollars in gift cards. The victim complied with the initial request, but when more cards were requested, reached out to the friend referred to in the email, only to learn the friend’s email had been hacked.

Police note these frauds involve an emotional element. They urge everyone to always take a deep breath and proceed with caution before parting with their cash.

Police offer the following tips:
· See the pet in person or do a video call with the seller before paying any money
· Pay with a credit card which gives you greater protection in case of fraud
· Research the seller to confirm the ad is legitimate and the pet photos are authentic
· Keep screenshots of all correspondence
· Consider adopting with a local reputable breeders and shelters
· Always check to confirm the source of a request for money but don’t reply to the account that could have been hacked
· Contact the friend via phone or text to verify the situation if the original request is from email
· Requests for gift cards are a red flag for fraud