A cruel scammer posing as a dog thief to blackmail devastated owners out of money

A cruel con artist poses as a dog thief to blackmail owners of devastated pets out of cash.

Dog Lost volunteers have reported a spike in thefts since last year and more suspects in 2022. There have been 359 stolen dogs in the Lancashire area alone.

The animal organization, which unites dogs and their owners, says cruel scammers and scammers pose as dognappers targeting unsuspecting animal lovers in the area.

Clare Gresty, North West coordinator of Dog Lost and police liaison, says some dogs have even been robbed at knifepoint.

She told Lancs Live: “We’ve had landlords held at knifepoint in the south and we’re dealing with so many cases; some are truly awful.

“There are other cases where the dogs were left in the garden, and others where they were walked.”

The latest harrowing incidents have seen scammers posing as genuine buyers to dog owners using fake IDs, a fake banking app and a cloned vehicle number plate to persuade them to be genuine.

The heartless crooks got away with five dogs, including two Cavapoo puppies, and also took two Pomeranian puppies and a dachshund from other devastated owners.

Two Pomeranian puppies were fraudulently purchased from a home in Leyland, Lancashire


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Claire added: “When the pair of men left, the owners checked their bank accounts to see if the money had come in, and it wasn’t there because it was never sent in the first place.

“Distraught owners let their puppies go without proper research, and all dogs should be microchipped. But the owners of a pair of Pomeranian puppies have been told they will receive £3,800.

“The crooks showed proof, or what they said was proof, that they were genuine, with what turned out to be a fake ID, fake driver’s license and vehicle registration cloned, then they left with the puppies.

“The owner let the men go thinking they were going to get almost £4,000 so the men left with the puppies but when the owners checked their bank account there was nothing.

“She’s distraught because she doesn’t know where the puppies are, and now she’s terrified for her safety as well as the puppies because this scammer knows where she lives; they’ve actually been in the family home.”

Another sickening twist saw another scammer posing as a dog thief and blackmailing desperate owners who lost their dogs hundreds of pounds.

Claire added: “I speak to this person regularly because he knows that I am the coordinator of Dog Lost in the North West.

“Some owners have paid him thousands of pounds and they genuinely believe he has their dog. He pretends to be a dognapper – we all know his voice – and he pretends to have their dogs, saying things like , pay £500 now or I’ll slit your dog’s throat.

“It’s a big deal,” Claire says, adding, “Dog theft can be very traumatic and some owners’ lives are never the same again. I really feel for them because it’s not knowing for them.

“If your dog has died, you can mourn it, but these owners are wondering what conditions their dogs could be left with.

“Were they used as bait or were they kept in cages for breeding? It literally traumatizes them.

In a post on the Dog Lost Facebook page, the group said, “Be careful when advertising the sale of your pets. Scammers contact owners and offer the perfect home for your pet.

“They send money through a fraudulent banking app and will show you that the money has been transferred.

“You will NOT receive this payment. They are using a fake ID which they will allow you to take a picture of, tricking you into thinking they are genuine.

“They may ask you to take a photo of their vehicle’s registration, again tricking you into believing they are genuine – they will actually be cloned vehicles.

“If you have fallen victim to this scam, please contact your local police department and email us the information.

“Please also contact Action Fraud and report the crime to them.”

Recent data revealed that dog thefts across the country have reached a seven-year high.

Around 2,760 dogs were stolen last year, a 16% increase since 2015, according to figures compiled by Direct Line Pet Insurance, which indicate the breeds most targeted are Jack Russell terriers, French bulldogs, chihuahuas and pugs.

Madeline Pike, Veterinary Nurse for Direct Line Pet Insurance, said: “Unfortunately dog ​​theft appears to be on the rise in Lancashire, with the number of dogs reported as stolen increasing over the past three years to a record 116. Last year. This is the fourth highest figure recorded in the UK police force.

“However, as the number of thefts in Lancashire has increased, so has the number of dogs returned. Almost half of these dogs, 51 animals, were returned to their owners last year. That’s more four times higher than the number officially returned five years ago, when just 12 dogs, or 11% of those stolen, were found.

“While the high return rate in Lancashire, which is almost double the national average, is testament to the hard work of the police to reunite pets with their owners, we warn owners that the huge increase in the number people bringing in pet dogs The lockdown has made dog theft a lucrative industry for thieves.

“Pet owners should take every precaution to keep their pet safe, including not leaving their dog tied up outside a store or inside an empty car and keeping them on a leash when ‘it’s in high traffic areas.

“It is important that a dog’s microchip registration contains the correct information, otherwise it could make it difficult for an animal to reunite with its owner.”

A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “We were called on May 5 after a report of fraud at Leyland. It was reported that two red cavapoo puppies had been fraudulently purchased from an owner.

“The matter is under investigation and ongoing investigations.

“We were called on May 9 after a report of fraud at Leyland.

“It has been reported that two Pomeranian dogs were fraudulently purchased from an owner on April 28. The matter is being investigated and investigations are ongoing.”

Following a rise in reported dog thefts, the government last year revealed plans to sentence thieves to up to five years in prison. He said he would add the new criminal offense to the Kept Animals Bill.

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