Alleged Alberta puppy scam foiled but not before several buyers left disappointed

Click to play video: 'Calgary couple warns others about alleged online puppy scam' Calgary couple warns others about alleged online puppy scam
A Calgary couple is warning others after their address was used in an alleged online puppy scam. Tomasia DaSilva reports – Jan 11, 2021

A Calgary couple is warning others after an alleged puppy scam sent  four buyers to their southwest home.

Scott McGregor and his wife Shannon, who alerted Global News, said it was all quite strange.

“We had four people over the space of four days last week come over,” McGregor said. “The last gentlemen actually drove down from Edmonton.”

All were there for the exact same reason: to pick up a Shih Tzu puppy listed online. The address listed on that ad was that of the McGregor’s.

“‘We’re here for the puppy,'” McGregor said he was told. “And I said to the first person: ‘Do you think you have the right address?’ So they went through their phone and said: ‘This is the address.’ And it kind of dawned on us all that there was a fraud going on.”

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“It was terrible because you could see the look in their eyes. Honestly, it’s heartbreaking.”

Read more: Purchasing a puppy? Calgary sees spike in fake online dog sales in 2020

Nikko Lacbawan and his family felt the heartbreak up close.

His mom wanted to get a puppy for her birthday so he started to look for one. He came upon the ad advertising Shih Tzu puppies for sale.

“It seemed kind of sketchy at first,” he told Global News.

But after doing some research, Lacbawan said he felt more comfortable with the purchase and his family put down a $100 deposit.

“They gave me an email and an address and everything and even gave me their phone number,” he added. “So I thought it would be fine.”

But after reaching the McGregor’s door, he was dismayed.

“He (McGregor) opened the door and he was already looking very disappointed,” Lacbawan added. “He said ‘No we’re not giving away puppies here.'”

Lacbawan said not only were they out the money, but his mom was also out a pet she and the whole family was so excited about.

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“I can’t wrap my head around it. Like how do you play with someone’s feelings?” he asked. “When they’re expecting a puppy. When they’re expecting a companion?”

Read more: Calgary family warns consumers after online puppy sale leaves daughter ‘heartbroken’

Global News reached out to the phone number listed on the online ad. That same phone number and an email address was also provided to us by McGregor, who got it from some of the buyers.

We received a number of text messages back from that number. We also received emails from someone named Ashleigh Young. In both the texts and the emails Global News was told the ad was not hers. She also said she had been harassed as a result, and didn’t know why someone was using her personal information: “I have no idea but maybe a typo in the number.”

Both Lacbawan and the McGregor’s reported the ad to Calgary police, who have confirmed they are investigating.

McGregor said he hopes by coming forward he’s prevented anyone else from losing out on getting a new puppy. As for his address being used, he also said he’s glad it was, because that gave him the opportunity to speak out.

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Calgary police recently released a warning and some advice for those looking to buy a puppy online.

There are also tips on the Better Business Bureau’s website.

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