Detectives investigating a scam purporting to be selling puppies through online trading websites have arrested a man in Sydney’s west today.
In July 2020, detectives from Nepean Police Area Command commenced an investigation, following reports of a fraudulent online advertisement for purebred puppies.
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.
After sending through the money, the puppy never arrived, and the alleged breeder cut contact with them.
Following extensive inquiries, investigators, with the assistance from specialist tactical officers, arrested a 27-year-old man at a home at Oxley Park about 8am today (Wednesday 19 August 2020).
The man has been taken to St Marys Police Station, where he is expected to be charged with fraud-related offences.
Investigations are continuing.
Nepean PAC Crime Manager, Detective Inspector Jason Pietruskza, warned people to be cautious when making purchases online.
“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,” Det Insp Pietruskza 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.”
Vinnie Ward 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.”
Safety advice for those wanting to purchase a puppy online:
- 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.
Anyone with information about fraudulent activity is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence.