Incidents of online animal fraud on the rise

Police are reminding Albertans to exercise caution when buying animals or conducting any other business online.

With many people now conducting animal and sales online, a recent RCMP report highlights the importance of being vigilant when dealing with online sellers of animals. According to Wood Buffalo RCMP, incidents of online fraud involving pet sales have been on the rise since March 2017. An online seller, advertising through Facebook, has reportedly been asking for a down payment for a puppy. This advertisement has turned out to be fraudulent. With this in mind, RCMP are reminding Albertans to exercise caution when purchasing products or services online.

When choosing to make a purchase online, keep the following in mind:

  • Do not purchase a product or service without carefully researching the product/service and the associated business (if applicable).

  • Be wary of down payment requests for a product or service, particularly when there is no associated business.

  • Despite requiring a profile, Facebook is no more secure than any other site that sales can be arranged on, and can contain a considerable amount of false information.

  • Be wary of product or service prices that are too good to be true.

  • Do not provide personal or banking information when making an online purchase.

If you are a victim of fraud, or if someone has attempted to fraudulently obtain money from you, please contact your local police department. You can also report fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501, or online at

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