Google releases the hounds upon online pet scammers on National Pets Day

We know it’s hard to resist those ears, but go to an adoption center


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You might think it should be relatively easy to avoid falling for scams online — just double check the royal credentials on all those Nigerian princes, right? And while none of us like to think we could be a victim, the truth is that scams abound in every corner of the web — and despite continuous efforts by companies like Google to crack down on them, people seem to keep giving away their money and personal information to these crooks. A huge chunk of scams involve non-delivered merchandise and/or payments, and now Google has announced it’s taking action against a particularly shameless type of this con — it’s going after pet fraudsters.

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In addition to trying to just raise attention about this kind of scam in general, Google is also going after one perpetrator in particular, and shares word that legal action is underway. We don’t get a lot of details on the specifics of this case, but the scammer was running a network of websites claiming to sell basset hound puppies, complete with cute dog pictures and fake testimonials — and using Google tools to do so.

This scam has been especially popular since the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic and a sudden wave of people wanting to adopt pets. Some fraudsters target older folks — they’re already less tech-savvy and more prone to falling victims to online scams, and showing them pictures of absolutely adorable dogs with floppy ears and short little legs is a surprisingly effective way to steal money out of their pockets. This isn’t even an exaggeration — according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), 35% of shopping scams are pet-related.


If you see your grandparent searching for dogs on the Internet, and they come across a shady-looking website claiming to sell cute puppies, don’t let them enter their card details there. It could very well be a scam, and they might not get their promised pet. Do, however, go to an adoption center or animal shelter and rescue a puppy for them, because dogs are great and everyone should have a fluffy life companion — your grandparent shouldn’t have their dreams of a puppy foiled by some monster using dog pictures to steal money.


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