An online puppy scam has cost a retiree almost R100k from her pension fund

An online puppy scam has cost a retiree almost R100k from her pension fund

Criminals prey on your innocence and what you care about...

An online puppy scam has cost a retiree almost R100k from her pension fund...
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As a lover of pets, there are very few things that we won't do to advocate for our favourite fur balls. But there is a line, and staying behind it can sometimes be tricky, especially if you are vulnerable to the honesty of others, in particular scammers. 

Being aware and staying vigilant in this day and age is far more challenging than it was in the past, with the introduction of a higher level playing field that hosts scammers from all walks of life. 

A Pretoria retiree (Alta Badenhorst) was on holiday in Ballito, KZN and decided to search for a puppy online. She was successful in her search and she found two puppies from a woman in Upington, for R4,200 each, which she felt was the going rate. 

After paying for the puppies, the simple act of wanting to give these puppies a home and also finding some companionship, a domino effect began. She was contacted by a courier company saying that she had to pay a further R16,000 each to transport the puppies, and if she didn't, then they wouldn't deliver. 

And this is where the scammers get you, they feed off your emotion. In this case, they knew that she was an animal lover, so they appealed to that part of her. So she paid. 

"On the day she was expecting her puppies to be delivered she received a call claiming she needed to pay an additional R50 000 because the puppies had been ‘confiscated at the airport by the American Kennel Club’. They said all the R50 000 was refundable, so I paid. Then they said, no it’s R50 000 per puppy. I got mad and called the lady who sold the puppies and asked her to pay the other R50 000." (North Coast Courier)

The seller said she could only assist with R20,000, and asked Alta to pay the remaining money. Alta explained that she did not have any more money, and the seller hung up and blocked her. This is when Alta came to the realisation that this was all very fishy. 

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"Many people have been scammed recently while trying to buy pets and cars online, police say. Captain Vinny Pillay of Umhlali police said almost every week they had a case where a resident had been scammed after paying for a dog or cat." (North Coast Courier)

The most important take away from this story is that sometimes it's best to ask for someone's advice before purchasing anything online. It can seem so legitimate, but that's just how scams work, it appears real until it's too late. So be weary before parting with your money, it's better to be extra vigilant, especially as the holidays approach. 

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East Coast Radio

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