A man has been arrested after allegedly conning dog lovers into buying puppies that don’t even exist.
The 27-year-old man was taken into custody at a home at Oxley Park in Sydney’s west around 8.00am on Wednesday morning and taken to St Marys Police Station, where he is expected to be charged with fraud-related offences.
It comes after detectives launched an investigation into a scam purporting to be selling purebred puppies through online trading websites.
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“Police have been told that several people across Australia, including residents in Queensland, Western Australia, the ACT and NSW, sent money online after seeing an advertisement of a blue Staffordshire bull terrier puppy posted on two online trading websites,” NSW police said.
However, after the hopeful puppy owners sent through the money, the puppy never arrived and the alleged breeder cut all contact with them.
Vinnie Ward was one of the man’s victims and said he and his family were “gutted” when they discovered they were never going to get the cute puppy advertised.
“We fell in love with this incredibly cute puppy after finding him online and couldn’t wait to add him to our family,” Mr Ward said.
“When we discovered this puppy was never real or for sale, it was very heartbreaking.
“I really encourage people to be safe when purchasing puppies online.”
Nepean PAC Crime Manager Detective Inspector Jason Pietruskza said heartless scammers are using the coronavirus pandemic to take advantage of dog buyers.
“These scams start by sourcing images of sought-after dog breeds and posting them online for sale; often at a lower price than other breeders,” he said.
“During the current pandemic, many scammers are also taking advantage of people not being able to travel to meet the puppy in person and charge higher fees to transport the dog interstate.
“If you think you have been scammed, we urge you to contact your bank or financial institution as soon as possible.”