Buyers Beware of Online Pet Scams

(Innisfil/Bradford, ON) South Simcoe Police Service is reminding citizens to be wary of buying pets online after a recent fraud involving kittens.

A local resident lost a quantity of money after attempting to purchase Maine Coon kittens from a website supposedly specializing in the breed.

In most of these cases, websites that appear legitimate advertise different breeds of pets for sale. The would-be pet owners send initial payment expecting to receive a pet that never arrives. In some cases, the price escalates as the fraudster asks for transport fees, custom fees or medical costs before the pet is delivered. Heartbroken buyers end up out of pocket and without a pet.

South Simcoe Police Service is reminding citizens to be cautious when shopping for pets online. Here are some tips to avoid becoming a victim:

– See the pet in person before buying
– Research the seller and website to see if they are the subject of complaints

– If the URL is different than the actual website name, it’s probably fake

– Think twice if the asking price is very low for the breed

– If the sellers request money in US dollars, it’s probably a scam
– Do a reverse-image search on the animal image to see if it is linked to scams and other websites
– Contact local reputable breeders and shelters
– Adopt locally instead of online

The public is encouraged to report these incidents to police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. Check the fraud centre website for recent scams and further resources