Police from the Russell detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) asked people to think twice before transferring money online after the incident, in which almost $900 was transferred to a seller for a dog that never arrived. The victim first responded to a Kijiji ad for puppies on November 21, and sent e-transfers ahead of an expected pick-up date.
The seller, however, contacted the victim before the pick-up was due, and said they no longer had the dog and could not return the money. Police spoke to the seller, who promised to return the money by mid-December.
When no money, nor the puppy, were received, police charged Briana Cote, 18 of Buckingham with fraud under $5000, and obtaining by false pretense under $5000. She was scheduled to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice on January 27 next year.
OPP East Region community safety coordinator Acting Sergeant Annie Collins urged residents to conduct research and check the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre for scams before sending funds over the internet. “Buyers are reminded to use caution and to educate themselves on current frauds,” she said. “Scammers continue to exploit people and the OPP is urging everyone to pause before sending any money, bitcoin or gift cards online.”