Huron County OPP would like to inform people about a scam that is beginning to appear in the area. While no specific cases have been reported from Huron County, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) reports the scam is active throughout Ontario and elsewhere.
The scammers place advertisements on free online sales sites like Craigslist, Kijiji and community web pages. Sometimes they will place ads in standard newspapers and on the radio. The advertisements are for purebred dogs offered at a cost that is well below normal market prices. Police say sometimes the scammers say they have to sell their dog (or give it away) because they are leaving Canada to do church work in Africa or South America.
Anyone who responds to the ad will be told to wire funds using a money transfer service.
The scammers will say the dog is on the way but they require some additional funds to pay for transportation delivery fees, taxes, vaccination verification fees, etc. People send the money thinking they are getting a deal on a beautiful dog, but get nothing. There are additional email requests for money until the victim realizes he’s been scammed.
The CAFC reports most of the money is transferred to West African nations including Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon.
Police advise anyone shopping for a pet not to be enticed by a ridiculously low price. Purebred animals are in high demand and can be very expensive. It doesn’t make sense for someone to give such an animal away or sell it at a huge discount.
Police warn people not to be rushed into making a decision, or be fooled by stories designed to play with their emotions. Purchasing from a known reputable business will be much safer than buying from an unknown person in a foreign country.