A southern NSW man has been charged after allegedly running a puppy scam where he stole more than $16,000 from prospective dog lovers.
In February 2020 detectives from the Murray River Police District began investigating reports of fraudulent or fake online advertisements for a number of dog breeds.
Several victims told police that they had sent money to the seller online after seeing advertisements for Cavoodle, Toy Poodle, Dachshun and Corgi puppies.
After sending through the money, the puppy never arrived, and the alleged breeder cut contact with them.
Following an investigation, police arrested a 26-year-old man at Albury Police Station shortly after 6pm yesterday.
He was charged with nine counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception. Police will allege the man fraudulently obtained more than $16,000 as a result of the scam.
Murray River Police District Crime Manager Detective Chief Inspector Mick Stoltenberg warned potential puppy buyers to be very cautious when buying online.
“We have seen a rise in online scams in recent times, with scammers taking advantage of the recent pandemic as victims are less likely to travel to see the item they wish to purchase in person,” Det Ch Insp Stoltenberg said.
“If you think you may have been scammed, contact your bank or financial institution as soon as possible.
“Always remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
The man was granted conditional bail and is due to appear in court on April 12.
How to avoid becoming a victim of a puppy scam
- If the advertised price of a pedigree puppy looks too good to be true, it probably is.
- Make arrangements to meet the puppy in person if possible.
- Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for upfront payment via money order or wire transfer.
- If you are in doubt, seek advice from someone in the industry such as a reputable breeders association, vet or local pet shop.