How much is that doggy in the window? Cost is just one thing to think about when buying a puppy, particularly online. (Photo credit: kim_hester/Pixabay)

Puppy scam hits close to home as fraudsters use Cache Creek address

Ashcroft RCMP warning people searching for pets online to be careful out there

Ashcroft RCMP are echoing a warning about puppy scams that was issued by the RCMP throughout the province back in March, following a recent claim that erroneously involved a Cache Creek address.

On April 11, Ashcroft RCMP took a report from a Vancouver Island resident who reported being scammed out of $800 after she agreed to purchase a Jack Russell Frenchie dog from a resident of Cache Creek. The funds were paid via e-transfer as part of a deposit, but the puppy’s seller never showed up to the pre-arranged meet location.

A Cache Creek resident said on social media that the scammer had told the customer to come to her address in Cache Creek to pick up their puppy. Another resident noted that the scammer was likely not even from Cache Creek.

“Unfortunately, scammers can give any address anywhere. They say that when you send them a dollar amount they will send more pictures, and that when the puppy is eight weeks of age to send them the balance and they will send the puppy by air.

“We refuse to pay anything unless we see the puppies first, and visit the home they are coming from. Be careful out their on the world of computers.”

This tallies with what the RCMP are seeing. The seller will post an ad online for a puppy, and when the victim inquires about the dog, they are asked to pay a deposit. Once the money has been sent, the victim is given an address at which to pick up the dog. The address is fake, and at that point the suspect stops responding.

Police are also seeing ads for puppies that need to be re-homed immediately because an emergency has befallen the poster of the ad. In this instance, when the victim inquires about the dog, they are told a heartbreaking story and then told the puppy will need to be shipped to its new home. The victim is asked to pay for transportation costs, as well as any insurance and vaccination costs, often costing the victim thousands of dollars.

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. Ask for the pet’s veterinarian clinic and call to confirm that the pet is actually a patient there.

Ask for the seller’s phone number. If they don’t give a phone number, it could be a sign of a scam. Also ask for multiple photos of the puppy. Compare them to ensure the dog is the same in all photos, and do a reverse image search online to ensure they are not stock photos.

“We strongly urge online shoppers and puppy lovers to educate themselves and seriously consider adopting animals in person,” says Sgt. Darren Angman, Detachment Commander for the Ashcroft RCMP. “If it’s too good to be true, it likely is. Do your research on the breeders to ensure they are reputable. Do not pay by sending cash, money transfers, or money orders.”

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Ashcroft Cache Creek Journal