A new twist on an old scam has been surfacing and pet lovers are paying the price.

Breeders across Canada have been forwarding sensitive information like Canadian Kennel Club registrations and pictures of their Passports to scammers who have been posing as potential buyers. In turn, these scammers are using the stolen ID belonging to the legitimate breeders to scam unsuspecting potential buyers out of cash while pretending to be breeders themselves. These scammers pose as breeders online and when an unsuspecting potential buyers ask for proof, the scammers pass along the real IDs of legitimate breeders. A reference check to the Canadian Kennel Club will help to push the scam along, as things check out when the real breeders are confirmed as being members with a valid certificate.

Due diligence should be taken when looking to purchase a pet especially when you are looking online. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Police advise people who are looking for a new pet to consider a local animal shelter. They advise not to purchase any pets until you have seen them in person. Scammers rely on potential buyers being out of town and needing these new pets shipped. Then to get the maximum amount of cash from victims they invent multiple “issues with shipping the pet” to squeeze more funds.  First perhaps the puppies needs extra vaccinations due to COVID-19 precautions. Next the airport needs a special animal crate to comply with increased COVID-19 restrictions. Then the animal is held in provincial or federal Quarantine and needs a fine to be paid before release. The delays can be endless. and the money requests will continue until the victim realizes that they are being scammed and they will never see this new pet.

Please see a CBC article about a recent version of the scam. 

Tips to protect yourself:

  • Protect yourself by only buying pets you can see in person.
  • Consider adopting from a local animal shelter.
  • Pay for the new pet only with cash or a cheque, and never with Gift Cards.
  • If you must purchase from a breeder do your research and make sure that they breeder is a reputable one.
  • Never pass your sensitive information along to strangers. Identity thieves want your ID and other information to perpetuate their scams.
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