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Norwich woman loses hundreds of pounds in puppy scam

Bernadette Freeman, who lives in Polypin Yard, received a call on August 6 from an overseas adoption agency in Canada asking if she would be interested in taking in a Yorkshire Terrier puppy.

The 55-year-old said: “The person seemed legitimate on the phone and I was even sent images of the puppy being loaded on to a flight to the UK.

Norwich Evening News: Bernadette Freeman, 55, lives in Polypin Yard off King StreetBernadette Freeman, 55, lives in Polypin Yard off King Street (Image: Bernadette Freeman)

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“I had to pay £165 in good faith, followed by £90 for insurance.

“When I was told the puppy had arrived in the UK I was asked to pay an additional £250 to cover the cost of flying it over.”

However, after spending a total of £505 and waiting 10 days without any updates, Bernadette became suspicious after the company kept “making excuses” about why it couldn’t deliver the puppy to her.

She added: “The company gave me multiple excuses such as telling me their van had broken down, or that the puppy was ill.

“Both times they said I needed to pay them another £150 – which I didn’t.

Norwich Evening News: The scammers telephoned Bernadette on August 6 and conned her out of £505The scammers telephoned Bernadette on August 6 and conned her out of £505 (Image: Archant)

“A couple of days ago they said I needed to go out and get a £50 Amazon voucher for petrol – which made no sense.

“I offered to send a taxi but they demanded these gift vouchers.

“When I refused they threatened me with court action and abandonment of the puppy.

“Since then, they’ve been constantly calling, harassing me and calling me all sorts of derogatory names because I won’t give them anymore money.”

After reporting the incident to Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, the head of the company, said: “Action Fraud can confirm that it received report of fraud on August 17, 2023 and it’s currently being assessed by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) at the City of London Police.”

Norwich Evening News: Bernadette thought she was buying and re-homing a Yorkshire Terrier puppy from CanadaBernadette thought she was buying and re-homing a Yorkshire Terrier puppy from Canada (Image: Archant)

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Bernadette wants to warn others of such scams, saying: “It’s been terrible.

“The whole incident has really affected me.

“They’ve completely cleared me out of my bank – I’ve got no money left.

“I want others to know what I’ve been through.”

What to do if you think you’ve been scammed?

Per the Citizens Advice website it says people should protect themselves before reporting a scam. 

It says: “If the scammer comes to your door, calls you, or sends you a message, ignore them, but keep a record of what’s happened so you can report it.”

It also states to call the police in the event they are either “in your area or you’ve transferred money to the scammer in the last 24 hours.”

Another tip is to “write down the details of your scam, which will help you remember all the important information when the scam is reported.”

All types of scams to Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud.

It’s quickest to report a scam to Action Fraud online, but you can also report the scam by phone on 0300 123 2040.

Read the full article here

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