ForestVPN’s Fight Against Puppy Scams: Google’s Bold Move

Published Categorized as Guide

They’re cute, loyal, and wonderful companions for these dark times. But those puppies posted by an online seller might also be made up. As the pandemic dragged on over the past two years, many have welcomed new dogs and other pets into their homes as a new focal point and to combat loneliness. But when trends arise, so do scammers. Learn how to avoid puppy scams with ForestVPN.

Puppy scams

What is Puppy Fraud?

Puppy scams, also known as puppy fraud, describe the fake sale of dogs. The problem has grown during Covid-19, when many have responded to the increased isolation by buying or adopting pets. Typically, a prospective buyer will see a website or an ad listing the sale of purebred dogs, posted by someone claiming to be a breeder. After some online discussions, the buyer will send funds—but no dog will ever materialize. The seller is a fraudster; the buyer loses their money. Victims of puppy scams skew older in age.

How is Google Stopping Puppy Scams?

The company is suing Nche Noel Ntse, who is based in Cameroon, for breaching its terms of service. He has allegedly set up multiple websites through which he purported to sell basset hounds, using cute pictures and customer testimonials. In the lawsuit, Google claims that the defendant used several Google services, such as Gmail and Google Voice, via dozens of Google accounts, to lie to victims and receive payments, all in violation of Google’s terms of service.

According to the suit, a victim paid him 700 USD in online gift cards to purchase a puppy. But he later requested an additional 1,500 USD for supposed delivery charges, which the victim also paid. And no, the victim never received a puppy. The suit requests that the U.S. District Court for Northern California bans Nche Noel Ntse from using the company’s services and creating any more scam websites. Google is also asking for money to compensate for what the company has spent on investigations of the sites.

Will Google’s Move Help?

A Google representative has said that part of the aim is to establish a legal precedent, disrupting the tools used by scammers, and raising the consequences for bad actors. This means this one suit could have a wider effect on puppy scams in general. Another aim of the suit is to raise awareness to the fraud method so that fewer people will fall for it.

Don’t Fall for Puppy Fraud

Here are tips from Google and the American Kennel Club for avoiding puppy scams:

  • Don’t rely on photos alone. Ask to see the animal in person or on a video call. A scammer would likely go silent.
  • Use safe payment methods like credit cards. Don’t pay by money transfer, gift card, or debit cards.
  • Perform a reverse image search of any photos provided to you to check if they are stock photos or otherwise stolen from the internet.
  • Research the seller. Screen for reviews, complaints, and a social media presence. Ask for referrals.
  • Ask the seller questions about the dog and its parents, if it’s purebred. Also ask to see certificates and records.


Q1: How prevalent are puppy scams?

A: Puppy scams have become increasingly common, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, as more people seek companionship through pets. Scammers take advantage of the high demand for puppies and use deceptive tactics to defraud unsuspecting buyers.

Q2: Why is it important to research the seller when buying a puppy?

A: Researching the seller helps buyers verify the legitimacy of the transaction and avoid falling victim to scams. By checking for reviews, complaints, and a social media presence, buyers can assess the seller’s credibility and ensure they are dealing with a reputable breeder.

Q3: What are some red flags to watch out for in puppy sale listings?

A: Some red flags in puppy sale listings include sellers who refuse to provide additional information or photos, insist on unusual payment methods such as wire transfers or gift cards, and offer prices that seem too good to be true. Buyers should exercise caution and thoroughly vet sellers before making a purchase.

Q4: How can I report a puppy scam?

A: If you encounter a suspicious puppy sale listing or believe you have been the victim of a scam, you can report it to platforms where the listing appears, such as Google or social media sites. You can also report the scam to law enforcement agencies and consumer protection organizations.

Q5: What can I do if I’ve already been scammed in a puppy sale?

A: If you’ve fallen victim to a puppy scam, you should report it to the appropriate authorities, such as your local law enforcement agency or consumer protection agency. You should also contact your bank or credit card company to report the fraudulent transaction and explore options for recovering your funds.

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