In a First, Google Goes After Puppy Fraud in Court

For the tech giant, Google first filed a consumer protection lawsuit to protect vulnerable and unsuspecting people in what it calls a “failed” scheme: the sale of adorable, but fictional, puppies.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in San Jose, California, alleges that Nche Noel Ntse, a Cameroonian man, used a range of Google services, including Gmail accounts, Google Voice numbers and ads, to defraud buyers of puppies.

Mr. According to court documents, Ntse lured its victims with “adorable” and “greedy” photographs of purebred puppies, along with “attractive testimonials from allegedly satisfied customers” who demonstrated the high demand for puppies in the United States during the coronavirus epidemic.

Google says it has “investigated and improved” Mr. Ntse sues it for financial loss, citing its activities, and damage to the company’s relationship with its users and damage to its reputation.

“It simply came to our notice then.

The company says it prevents 100 million harmful emails from reaching users every day, but Mr. Trinh said he hopes the lawsuit will go further, setting an example for Mr. Ntse. Google has decided not to pursue criminal charges in this case because it believes that civil litigation will be a quick fix. Trinh added. “It’s a constant fight.”

The case is Google’s first consumer protection lawsuit, citing company company Jose Castaneda. He added that based on the vast network of sites managed by Mr. However, Google estimates that victims have lost more than 1 million in total.

Google’s legal action follows an increase in demand for pets due to the epidemic, as well as an increase in plans to capitalize on that desire.

Last year, consumers lost more than 8 5.8 billion to fraud, according to data from the Federal Trade Commission, an increase of more than 70 percent over 2020. According to the Better Business Bureau, online shopping scandals, especially during the epidemic, skyrocketed. The group estimates that by 2021, pet-related fraud will account for 35 percent of such reports.

Google was the first to know about Mr. Ntse’s activities around September 2021 after receiving abuse reports from the advocacy group AARP for Older Americans.

According to reports, a man living in South Carolina approached Mr. after finding the dog. Ntse via email after visiting the website he operated, which is now inactive. After correspondence with Mr. Ntse via email and text, the man later sent her $ 700 in electronic gift cards, adding in the report that “Victim 1 never found a puppy.”

According to the summons of the case, Shri. Ntse is located in Douala, a port city of over 2 million people in Cameroon. He ran other websites, including one allegedly selling marijuana and prescription opium cough syrup, the lawsuit says.

“When you go to buy a puppy, you don’t expect the other end to be the culprit,” said Paul Brady, who runs, which tracks and reports websites that falsely claim to sell animals.

Scammers, often located outside the United States, post photos and videos of puppies at low cost and request online payments in advance, and sometimes additional detection costs, such as animal quarantine or delivery fees.

Such schemes have “exploded” in the last two years, Shri. Brady said the scammers took advantage of people’s loneliness and took advantage of lockdowns that limited their ability to travel away from home to collect puppies.

“People are sitting alone, and they want animal company,” he added, recalling the particularly shocking incident in which a woman spent $ 25,000 to buy a Pomeranian puppy.

For 28-year-old Rael Raskovich, the experience of being cheated by an online pet scheme was devastating.

About a year ago, Raskovich, who works in the mortgage industry, had just moved to South Carolina and was hoping to buy her first puppy: the Golden Retriever.

She explored her options, eventually filling out an online form, which has now become inactive, including detailed questions about her plans to care for the animal, she said, which led her to believe the process was legal.

She made a વાયર 700 deposit wire to the seller, who sent her a video believing her to be her soon-to-be puppy. He bought toys and a dog bed.

Then, she said, the seller claimed an additional $ 1,300 was needed for a coronavirus vaccination for the dog and an air-conditioned shipping crate. Ms. Raskovich said she was told to expect A call from Delta Air Lines, which the seller claimed would transport the animal – but when she called to confirm, the airline told her it was not sending the animals.

“Then I was like, ‘Well, this is definitely not legal,'” she said, adding that she had cut off communication. The seller’s identity was never determined.

“Get ready for this new addition to your life,” Ms. Raskovich said. “It sucks.”

Kirsten Noyes contributed to the reporting.

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