Google warns over puppy scam. Beware!

This article contains some important information designed to protect our audience so consider fully. It concerns the latest scam which is widely occurring. Google have issued a warning over it because the scammers are using Google products in order to con victims. This blog post explains everything you need to know and how to avoid being a victim, so please read on.

Scammers are targeting dog lovers by using photos of basset hound puppies to emotionally compel people into sending money. The trick involves websites which appear to be legit in offering puppies for sale. As always in these cases, the sites look authentic because they use good quality photos and offer customer reviews and testimonials (fake) which trick people into believing that they are dealing with someone reputable. This trick is specifically aimed at vulnerable or elderly people because the scammers know that they are more likely to be ‘attracted’ to dogs and puppies because of the companionship they bring.  The scam in short promises something someone will never receive in return for cash. People are being conned out of thousands of pounds. One person paid over £500 to secure a puppy, then a further £1,000 for delivery. The puppy never arrived.

If you have elderly relatives, friends or contacts who use the internet but are still vulnerable, it is well worth talking to them about this and other scams because it could make the difference in protecting them.

What has this got to do with Google?

Thousands of scams are occurring every day so you may wonder why Google are specifically warning about this. The problem is that the scammers are using some of Google’s platforms and technologies in order to be able to find their victims. Specifically, Gmail has been used, along with Google voice phone numbers as a way of targeting victims. The scammers have also been able to manipulate the use of Google Ads, by promoting their fake websites to the top of ad pages so they get seen and receive a good click through volume. Many people will recognise these scams even if they think they are legitimate through Google. Some won’t however, and this is all the scammers need.

It appears as though Google was alerted to this problem back in September 2021. Today in April 2022, the scam is still existing, and it is chilling to think about the amount of fraud that has likely existed in this time. There is no doubt that Google will have acted on this, but as everyone knows, it can be very difficult to stop online criminals and fraudsters.

How can this scam be avoided?

One sign is the sense of urgency. Victims will be told that the puppies are held in places with less than desirable circumstances and there is a need to get them to safety. Scammers in this con will demand money before any puppies are sent. If anyone asks you to do this, avoid. One clever way to rumble this scam is to look carefully at the text of the website. It has been reported that this scam has multiple websites running and the photos and text are largely the same across different sites. Try copying and pasting the text into a search engine. If it shows up in multiple places, its not legit.

We will always do our best to help highlight scams and promote protecting our audience and everyone else. The internet has revolutionised lives for the better, sadly though, there will always be people who seek to undermine this.

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