A man accused of operating a puppy-selling scam online has been arrested in Sydney’s west.
Detectives from Nepean Police Area Command began investigating reports of a fraudulent online advertisement for purebred puppies last month.
Police say that people across Australia – including residents in Queensland, Western Australia, the ACT and NSW – sent money online after seeing an advertisement for a blue Staffordshire bull terrier puppy posted on two online trading websites.
However the longed-for puppy never arrived and the alleged breeder cut contact with them.
Investigators and the specialist tactical officers came knocking at a home at Oxley Park on Aug 19 and arrested a 27-year-old man.
He has been taken to St Marys Police Station and is expected to be charged with fraud-related offences.
Nepean PAC Crime Manager, Detective Inspector Jason Pietruskza, warned people to be cautious when buying 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 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,” 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.”
Maureen Dettre in Sydney