Hit by the puppy scam

2019-11-04 16:22
A screenshot of the Yorkshire Terrier puppies advertised on the Michelle Puppies website.

A screenshot of the Yorkshire Terrier puppies advertised on the Michelle Puppies website.

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A dog lover has warned the public to be wary of online websites selling dogs after she paid a “deposit” of over R3 000 for a puppy in what she now believes was a scam.

Zinicha Stevens, from Port Shepstone, has opened a case with the police after the woman she ordered a Yorkshire Terrier puppy from ghosted her.

Stevens said she had been searching for a Yorkie puppy online when she came across the advertisement by a Michelle Perry on a website titled “Michelle Puppies”.

“The website looks legit. I started chatting to this Michelle woman on WhatsApp and she sent me details about the puppies but not pictures of them.

“She said she would fly the puppy I wanted from East London to me here in Port Shepstone for R750. She insisted that I pay a deposit of R3 250 up front. Before paying, I asked her if this was a scam but she reassured me that it was not a scam so I went ahead and deposited the money to her.

“After paying the money on October 28 I asked her to send me pictures of the dog but she said she wasn’t at home and would send the pictures later. Later that night I reminded her about the pictures and then she just blocked my number,” said Stevens.

She said she tried calling Perry from different numbers, but she ignored all her calls. “Hours later my mother messaged her on WhatsApp pretending that she was interested in buying a dog. She sent her the same messages she had sent me and when my mother confronted her about my purchase, Michelle also blocked her.”

Stevens said her excitement over getting a new puppy quickly turned to disappointment. “I was going around telling my friends and family that I was getting a puppy and how excited I was about it. Now I just don’t know how to explain when they ask me how my new puppy is. It’s not a great feeling. My advice to people is to adopt, don’t shop,” said Stevens.

The Witness contacted Perry via the number posted on her website. She was only available on WhatsApp and did not answer calls.

She responded to an initial message asking about puppies by saying: “We have puppies for sale. Which puppy are you interested in.”

When we explained that we were from The Witness and wanted to ask her about the allegations that there was a police case against her in which a woman had accused her of running an online scam, she responded by saying; “I had some issues with a client, but I am working on solving the issues. Thank you.”

When The Witness sent another message advising her that it was necessary to speak to her and asking to make verbal contact by phone she said she was at the mall and would contact the reporter later. Further attempts to contact her were unsuccessful.

Provincial police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said a case of fraud is being investigated by Port Shepstone police in connection with the matter.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  scam
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