Police issue warning after customers conned out of money in puppy sale fraud
- Credit: Joy Gonszor
Dog lovers are being warned to be cautious when buying puppies online after police received numerous reports of people in Suffolk and north Essex being conned out of their money.
The Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU), which investigates fraud across the region, said ten customers have been tricked out of their money after responding to adverts selling puppies.
On each occasion the buyer transferred the money to the seller - only to discover the address they were given was incorrect when they went to collect their new dog.
It is believed one address was sent to up to nine would-be customers, though the homeowner in question was not involved in the scam.
The ‘sellers’ have been claiming the Covid-19 outbreak as the reason for requesting the money in full before the victims go to pick up their puppy.
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Of the ten incidents, two of the victims were in Essex and one was in Suffolk.
Cavapoo puppies were listed for sale in each of the incidents.
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Detective Sergeant Kieran Doyle, of ERSOU, said: “Sadly there are unscrupulous people who are looking to take advantage of the current lockdown situation by tricking people into handing over money in scams such as this one.”
“Not only are people handing over large sums of money for a pet they will never receive, they also have to deal with the emotional fallout and disappointment of the situation.
“We’d urge people to be cautious before buying anything online, but in particular animals such as puppies.
“If someone is requesting full payment before you have physically seen the puppy or if they’ve demanded a bank transfer rather than accepting PayPal or payment on collection, then we would advise you not to go ahead with the sale.
“The fraudster may also request further fees for travel insurance, documentation, or equipment. However, this never materialises.
“We’d also ask that you take the time to properly research the seller – in scams such as this the seller’s details are often linked to multiple adverts on several different selling sites, which could be another red flag.”