With the holiday shopping season in full swing, the RCMP is reminding the public to be aware of the risk of fraud while browsing for gifts online.

On October 28, 2022, St-Pierre-Jolys received a complaint from a resident of New Bothwell who stated she had been the victim of an online scam.

The victim states that on October 22, 2022, she found a social media post advertising a puppy, which stated was in Altona, needing a new home due to the owners being unable to give it the quality of life it deserved. The victim contacted the seller via social media and struck up an online conversation in hopes of acquiring the puppy.

Over the next few days, photos and videos of a puppy were provided to the victim and an agreement was reached in regard to a price. The victim agreed to provide an e-transfer deposit with the remaining amount owing to be given in person when they met for the exchange.

On the day of the exchange, the victim attended the agreed-upon location of the meeting where she then received a text message stating that the seller’s spouse wanted the full payment prior to the exchange which she submitted once again via e-transfer.

Once the full amount was transferred, the victim did not hear back from the seller.

The investigation has found that the seller’s profile was recently created and that this person may have been successful in defrauding two other victims in Winnipeg in the same manner.

The RCMP encourages online shoppers to only agree to meet in a public space and provide payment upon meeting with the seller so they have a chance to examine the item prior to payment.

If anyone has been a victim of fraud, please contact the local police.

St-Pierre-Joly RCMP continues to investigate.