If you're looking to add a furry friend to your family, you might want to think twice before shopping online. Durham Regional Police are now warning residents of an Ontario puppy scam where online ads are selling fake animals. This scam has cost some residents hundreds of dollars. 

In a news release, Durham Regional Police state that investigators have seen an increase in puppy scams throughout the past year, with over 15 incidents being reported since January. 

Now, police are warning shoppers to think twice before welcoming a furry friend into their homes through online purchasing. 

Those who wish to add a new member to their families should always seek out reputable breeders and shelters.

According to police, all of the scam’s victims responded to an advertisement for a dog posted online.

The would-be pet owner then transferred the money under the assumption that they would receive the animal. However, they never received anything in return.

“Investigators in Durham Region have had over fifteen incidents reported in 2020 where the victim saw an ad online, responded to the ad, sent money with the presumption that they would receive a puppy and never receiving anything in return,” Durham Police said in a statement.

“In some cases, the fraudster would ask for transport fees, customs fees, or medical costs before the dog is delivered. Once the payment is made, they continued to demand more money for fees of a non-existent pet,” they added.

The fake sellers have reportedly stolen upwards of a $1,000 from some victims by offering deals of pedigree pets that are too good to pass up.

In one case, police report that a victim lost over $1,800 when they attempted to purchase a puppy which they never received. 

“Some of the advertisements would lure their victims with pictures and videos of cute pets. The fraudsters would also offer a pedigree pet at a real low cost,” police reported.

“Most of the sellers will often claim that they moved further away and sometimes overseas."

The public is being warned not to share their personal banking information, avoid prices that seem “too good to be true,” and do thorough research before making any purchases.

Any victims of the scam are being encouraged to report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

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