Written by AJ Vicens
Google filed a lawsuit on Monday against a Cameroonian, accusing him of creating fraudulent websites that promise to ‘sell adorable puppies’, only to take victims’ money as part of a sprawling network scams without delivery.
According to Google’s lawsuit, someone named Nche Noel Ntse registered dozens of “fraudulent” Google accounts to create multiple Gmail and Google Voice accounts to “communicate false promises to victims” and create fraudulent websites to facilitate fraud.
Google seeks to prevent the individual from accessing or attempting to access Google services, creating Google accounts, or engaging in any activity that violates Google’s Terms of Service.
Fraud is part of a “dramatic increase” in online scams during the COVID-19 pandemic as people shop more online and less in person. Various studies watched “puppy scams” in particular, when the perpetrators, usually overseas, pose as breeders with puppies for sale.
“These scammers tend to post photos and videos of adorable puppies with too-good-to-be-true prizes and demand payment upfront via bank transfer, gift cards or direct transfer apps,” the authors wrote. Google’s lawyers in the complaint. After the first round of payments, scammers will add additional payments such as animal quarantine and delivery charges.
According to the lawsuit, in August 2021, AARP received a complaint from a South Carolina resident who reported that he was looking for a puppy online. They came across a site called “familyhomebassetthounds[.]com” and sought to buy a specific puppy.
Someone with a Gmail email account and a Google Voice account told the victim to pay for the dog by sending $700 in gift cards to a specific location. The victim was later informed that the shipping company needed an additional $1,500 to deliver the puppy, which never came.
Google’s investigation of the matter revealed “a network” of Google service accounts used in other non-delivery schemes related to subscriber and recovery email addresses, phone numbers and IP addresses connection. One of the old Gmail accounts was created in September 2013 from an IP address in Cameroon and had a phone number with the country code for Cameroon, the complaint states.
Fraudulent websites have been suspended in the past, but more are popping up. By the time Google investigated, the website used to target the victim in South Carolina had been taken down. But a Google Ads account that showed ads for this site also showed ads for “emilypuppyfarm[.]com”, a site registered on March 27, 2022 and still accessible on April 11:
“The recency of this site shows that the defendant will continue to commit fraud and abuse Google’s services unless arrested,” the attorneys wrote in the lawsuit, noting that Google suspended the Google Ads account and requested that the site be taken down through the company hosting the site. site.
Another site controlled by the suspect claimed to sell marijuana and prescription opiate cough syrup. That site was accessible until April 7, Google lawyers wrote, when it was taken down at Google’s request. He never sold the items because it was “another non-delivery program”.