Google sued a man from Cameroon for his involvement in a pet scam. Google revealed the news in a blog post published on Monday, April 2021. The blog post sheds light on the rampant pet scam in the USA, mainly among the senior citizen community.
Google filed a lawsuit against the man for using Google products to run a ‘Puppy Fraud’ scam to extract money from gullible people.
What is the Google puppy fraud scam?
Google Puppy Fraud scam is a rampant pet scam targeting the senior citizen community. The perpetrator approached older people by impersonating a pet seller. He then enticed gullible and uninformed citizens with pictures of puppies.
After gaining assurance via fake websites, photos, and customer testimonials, they would seek pre-payment. Google Voice and Gmail were used to initiate conversations and close deals for Puppy fraud. But the customers would never receive a package of adorable the said puppies.
The accused pleaded guilty to scamming older citizens and running the Google Puppy Fraud. The scam gained more traction amid the pandemic when people began seeking the companionship of pets.
How big is the pet scam industry?
As per the FTC and FBI report, pet scams are an estimated $650 million per year industry which targets senior citizens. The Google blog post shared that older people are more susceptible to falling prey to these scams because of a lack of knowledge. So, they are the ideal target of any criminal executing a fake product/service scam.
The blog post informs that Google proactively works to stop such scams on a granular level. But with an increasing number of unreported cases, some scams find a way to slip through the cracks. Moreover, pet scams (including the Google Puppy Fraud scam) account for 35% of online scams.
An excerpt from the blog post says, “Every single day we stop more than 100 million harmful emails from reaching our users, and we routinely work with law enforcement to combat nefarious actors. But across the web, people are caught in romance scams, loan scams, and investment scams every day — and older Americans are often the most vulnerable.”
Google advises the citizens to keep an eye out for such Google Puppy Fraud and other scams. Any proposition that offers way too much for a small amount, doesn’t have an official store or e-mail, etc may be deceiving. It asks the users to perform a reverse image search of every photo and cross-check the testimonials.