BC RCMP has issued a warning about a rise in puppy scams where prospective pet owners are being targeted as the demand for puppies grows in the time of the pandemic.
The RCMP is warning people thinking of getting a new puppy to be cautious of some online ads.
This is the pattern of these scams: The seller will post an ad online for a puppy.
When the victim enquires about the dog, they are asked to pay a deposit. Once the money has been sent, the victim is given a fake address to pick up the dog and then the suspect stops responding.
Police are also seeing ads for puppies that need to be rehomed immediately because an emergency has befallen the person who is posting the ad.
When the victim asks about the dog, they are told a heartbreaking story and then told the puppy will need to be shipped to its new home and the victim is asked to pay for transportation costs, as well as any insurance, and vaccination costs.
RCMP are urging online shoppers and puppy lovers to educate themselves and seriously consider adopting animals in person.
Do your research on the breeders to ensure they are reputable. Do not pay by sending cash, money transfers, or money orders.
Here are some tips to help you avoid scammers:
If you are in the market for a pet, consider adopting one from a reputable rescue organization or contacting a registered breeder with the Canadian Kennel Club, and whenever possible going to meet the breeder and puppies.
If the person is claiming to be a breeder, ask for the breeder registration information and verify the information.
If someone is selling a purebred dog at a price that’s too good to be true, it is likely a scam.
If an ad says the poster is giving a dog away for free but then asks you to pay for travel and other additional costs, it is likely a scam.
If the person is selling an animal, ask for the pet’s veterinarian clinic and call to confirm that the pet is a patient there.
Ask for the seller’s phone number. Call and ask specific questions about what the person is selling. If they don’t give a phone number, it could be a sign of a scam.
Ask for multiple photos of the puppy. Compare them to ensure the dog is the same in all photos and that they are not stock photos.