P.E.I RCMP are warning consumers to be vigilant when purchasing dogs online after a recent report of a scam.
At least one Island woman is out $250.
Nikki Jenkins says she was looking for a new puppy when she came across an online ad for a Maltese puppy. She messaged the seller and said she was told it would she would have to pay $500 for the dog.
“She described the dog as active, healthy, potty trained, female, six months old and it was a really cute picture,” she said. “I knew from just looking around the internet that typically a Maltese would be $1,500.”
Jenkins said she figured the price was lower because the dog was being rehomed.
Jenkins said she was told there were a lot of offers and a deposit would be needed if she wanted to secure the puppy. So she e-transferred $250.
However, when she went to pick up the dog at the Charlottetown address she was given, the family living there had no dog for sale, she said.
“Pretty outraged and shocked that it would happen to me,” she said.
“I am in my 20s, so it’s embarrassing. I thought that I was more aware of this sort of thing. And it really does make you realize how incredibly easy it is, especially when it’s something that plays on your emotions.”
Jenkins said she can’t get the money back because it was automatically deposited to the person’s bank account.
The ad has been posted on several online platforms, and Jenkins isn’t the only one who responded to the scam.
Andrea McDougall has an 11-year-old dog and wanted to add a puppy to her household.
“My husband saw an ad for a Maltese who was six months old and it was $500, which is amazing with the price of dogs these days,” she said.
McDougall talked to the seller through a messaging service. She said the seller told her they were in Charlottetown and that McDougall could pick up the dog.
“As the afternoon went on she sent my husband a message again,” McDougall said.
The seller asked for half the money before the couple came to see the dog. McDougall said she declined to do that and told the seller she would come by the house for the dog later that evening.
McDougall said she had suspicions, but took a leash with her in the hopes she’d be able to buy the dog.
“Knocked on this lovely house and a woman answered the door,” McDougall said. The woman at the door told her she had no dog for sale — and McDougall wasn’t the first to stop by.
McDougall posted on social media about the situation and many people responded saying they saw the ad as well.
“Two hundred and fifty dollars, I mean, is a lot of money. You don’t want people to be ripped off.”
Island RCMP say if you are buying online, try to get up-to-date pictures texted to you.
“If you can’t physically see the item with an up-to-date picture, we suggest you do not send any money to these individuals,” said Sgt. Chris Gunn.
Gunn said people should be as vigilant buying online as in person. He said if people are meeting up to purchase an item it’s good to meet in a public area.
“The RCMP locations on Prince Edward Island and our local police forces have locations in their main parking lot open to the public.”
Gunn said these types of internet scams are hard to track down because they could be committed from pretty much anywhere.