A woman from Nova Scotia has reported an "unusually cruel" scam that promises Canadians free, purebred puppies. According to a Global News report, a couple from Eastern Canada have reported dozens of people from across the country arriving at her home looking for the "free puppy" they were told they would receive. It seems that all of these people have fallen victim to the free puppy scam in Canada.
Lara Ryan tells Global News that two years ago, strangers began showing up at her home unannounced, claiming they were responding to an online ad from a man who was giving up his puppy that he could no longer care for. Initially, Ryan and her husband were certain that the unexpected visitors were merely the result of a miscommunication. However, Ryan noticed a pattern that confirmed that this was no honest mistake.
In an interview with Global News, Ryan said "It’s random enough that we kind of forget about it. Then a stranger comes to the door and we’re like: 'Hello. Oh, right. Puppies. Sorry.'"
People from as far away as Toronto knocked on Ryan's door, asserting similar claims. According to Global News, those under the impression that they were receiving a puppy had chosen to pick up the dog rather than wire $500 to the man, who requested they cover shipping costs. The address listed in the email instructions was Ryan's house, even though she had absolutely no involvement in the arrangement.
The suspect reportedly informed those who responded to the "free puppy" ad that he had to give up the tiny, cute dog because his relative or child was in the hospital. Other times, he used the excuse that he had to move outside the province and wouldn't be able to take his canine companion with him.
"The person who wants the puppy thinks: ‘This is just awesome because it’s a purebred for free, and we’re helping,’ " explained Ryan.
Different versions of the ad offer a variety of different breeds - like corgis, Jack Russell terriers, and chihuahuas - however, the man's phone number and email address are never the same.
Police told Global News that there isn't much they are able to do to help the victims of the scam. The man's emails are sent from proxy accounts that could potentially originate from any location in the world. His calls seem to be coming from voice-over-internet-protocol phones, which unfortunately for the victims, can’t be traced.
The con man’s objective is to receive the shipping money, but clearly, when people refuse to transfer him the funds, the "unsuspecting dog lover" shows up at Ryan’s residence in Fergusons Cove, just outside of Halifax.
"Some of them have been talking to him 10 minutes before they’re at our door. We kind of take a deep breath and say, 'I’m sorry to tell you this, but it’s a scam.' "