According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, there seems to be an increasing number of online classified ad scams targeting dog lovers. Read on for tips on how to avoid being a victim of this puppy fraud…

Imagine this: you’re scouring Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, looking for a furry-footed friend to join your family. Finally, you spot her and the price is perfect. After contacting the seller, you learn all you have to do is pay for the dog using an online e-transfer. You transfer the funds, wait a few days and try to contact the seller. You get no response.

So what happened? You were the victim of the “puppy scam.” Here are some tips for avoiding this fraud:

  1. Watch out for high-pressure sales tactics. Be wary if the seller tries to pressure you to “act now.” Always take as much time as you need to ensure you’re making an informed purchasing decision.
  2. Know the risks. While there might be many legitimate pet sellers on classified ad websites, remember that these sites aren’t monitored and are free for anyone to use. Consider limiting your search to your local area: this way you can check the animal out first and avoid sending payments via e-transfer.
  3. Trust your instincts. Remember: if an offer seems too good to be true, it often is.

If you’ve been a victim of this scam, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

ADDITIONAL READING:

Top 6 red flags for buying online from a private seller
Avoiding rental property scams
Tips if you’re buying a used cell phone
Tips to prevent identity theft