Gran conned out of £500 in Accrington-based puppy selling scam
A devastated grandma who wanted to buy a puppy during lockdown said she was conned out of £500 in what she’s claiming was an online puppy selling scam.
Pamela Turner responded to an advert on the pet selling website, Pets4Homes, at the beginning of May.
The advert stated a seller with the user name ‘mariewoods86p’, was selling five cockapoo puppies from an address in Accrington for £1,500.
But after paying a £500 deposit and arranging to collect the puppy on May 22, she never heard from the seller again, and has been unable to contact her since.
Mrs Turner said: “After I’d paid my deposit she said she’d be in touch.
“I became a little bit suspicious though as she hadn’t given me details on the puppy and whether it was micro-chipped or vaccinated, and she made me transfer the money into her partner’s account as she claimed she didn’t have a bank account.”
Mrs Turner said usually, when buying a pet online, the buyer would visit the seller to check everything was ok with the puppy before exchanging any cash.
But due to lockdown she was unable to travel to Accrington so was sent pictures and videos as proof the puppy existed.
She said: “After a few days, I tried to ring her and she didn’t reply.
“I eventually managed to get through but she was very sharp with me saying she hadn’t been able to contact me sooner because she had damaged her phone
“I said I wanted to see the dog but she told me I couldn’t because of social distancing.”
The 70-year-old from Manchester said she arranged to collect the cockapoo on May 22, from an address in Queens Road West in Accrington.
However, upon searching for the property, Mrs Turner discovered the house didn’t exist, and it was then she realised she’d been conned out of £500.
She said: “On Thursday I reported it to the police and my bank, and also Action Fraud.
“I’m so upset about it. I believe I’ve been the victim of a scam and if she was advertising five puppies, then at least four other people must now be in the same position as me.
“I’m very depressed and very angry. Angry at myself for falling for it.
“I would say to anyone thinking of buying a puppy online to think twice before handing over any money.
“I admit I probably behaved foolishly but there was no way to go and see the puppy.”
Pamela Turner was sent images of the cockapoo puppy from the seller
On their website, Pets4Homes warn buyers about potential frauds and scams, especially during lockdown.
They state: “Typical traits of a scam will be that the fraudster will advertise that they have puppies or kittens for sale.
“They will not let the pet be collected in person due to the lockdown restrictions, and will insist on shipping the pet to the customer’s address.
“Pets4Homes do not encourage physical viewings to take place or for purchasers to travel during the COVID-19 restrictions.”
A spokesperson from Action Fraud said they had received the complaint and it would soon, if not already, be in the process of being assessed by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB).
The spokesperson said: “Victims can track the status of and update their report via the website by inputting their unique NFRC number.
“They can also see whether a report has been sent to a police force for investigation or if it’s still under review.”