Heartless scam artists pose online as a dog rescue center to scam animal lovers out of thousands of pounds.
Fraudsters have set up a fake Facebook site claiming to be Hope Rescue – a small charity in Llanharan, Rhondda Cynon Taf – with the aim of tricking families into “adopting” non-existent puppies for everyone.
The ruse was eventually exposed and reported to the police, but not before some had already posted hefty bail to secure their dream dog.
Read more: Sick and unwanted dogs are portrayed as ‘fake strays’ and thrown into rescue centers
“It’s a horrible thing to do to anyone,” said Vanessa Waddon, founder of Hope Rescue, which takes in a quarter of all stray animals in Wales.
“Three people who had been scammed reported it to us, and others called us to check if it was legit.
“The scammer asked someone for a bank transfer of £300 before delivering the pup.”
She added that the center still has no idea how many people actually responded to the ads, including the bogus offer of a 10-week-old French bulldog named Ruby.
“We first reported it to the police and advised the victims to do so as well.
“Since then, the Hope Rescue Facebook page has been given a blue check mark to verify that it is authentic, to ensure this sort of thing doesn’t happen again.”
A spokesman for South Wales Police said: “This incident will have been referred to Action Fraud” – the UK’s national reporting center for fraud and cybercrime.
“Action Fraud will carry out all initial investigations and refer the matter to us for further investigation if necessary.”
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