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Kijiji scam uses golden retriever puppies to lure prey

A litter of seven golden retriever puppies trots across the lawn at Mountain View Kennels in Williamsburg, Pa., Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2005. AP Photo

Anyone looking to buy a dog online is asked to be on the lookout for scammers after complaints regarding a fraudulent puppy scam on Kijiji.

Strathcona County RCMP said they have received several reports of the online scam since August.

In each case, a woman has posted a “for sale” ad on Kijiji for golden retriever puppies. Officers said the fraudster then asks potential buyers to transfer money via email as a deposit to hold the pup until it can be delivered. When the time comes to deliver the puppy, the scammer makes excuses and eventually stops talking to the buyer altogether, RCMP said.

READ MORE: Top 5 security tips to protect your credit card when shopping online

Officers urge people to be vigilant when buying anything online.

“Reputable breeders will never ask you to send or wire money,” RCMP said in a media release Monday.

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“No matter how good the deal seems or how cute the animal is, always pay once you’ve inspected the pet and asked the seller all of your questions. Only then should you pay.”

RCMP provided the following tips for buyers and sellers to avoid being scammed:

  • Ask a lot of questions. If the seller is reluctant to answer questions, be concerned. If the seller is unwilling to give information about the item they are selling (history, details or better pictures) be concerned. If the seller is unwilling to meet or give you an address to where you can meet, be concerned
  • Make sure the product is of value, good quality and functional. For example, if you’re buying a cellphone, make sure you’re able to activate it
  • Do not send money via e-transfer or through a money exchange service
  • Make the exchange in person with cash, if possible
  • Meet in a public place where you feel safe. Bringing a friend along is always a good idea

READ MORE: 12 fraud awareness tips for online shopping

Strathcona County has two designated “Internet purchase exchange” parking stalls at its RCMP detachment that can be used to buy and sell items from online transactions.

If you have lost money to this scam or have given out personal or financial information, you’re asked to contact the Strathcona County RCMP at 780-467-7741.

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If you have not lost money but suspect you may have been targeted by this scam, you’re asked to contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

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