The defendant operated several fraudulent websites and company products to defraud vulnerable people by pretending to sell puppies.
In the face of scams, Google considers legal action to be effective in compromising the tools used by scammers. On April 11, the American giant announced that it was taking legal action against Nche Noel Ntse, a person residing in Cameroon, for having led a “puppy scam scheme”scamming vulnerable people, including the elderly. According to the filed complaint, he accuses her of using a network of fake websites, as well as Google Voice phone numbers and Gmail accounts to pretend to sell basset hound puppies to American Internet users.
Victims believed that these sites were legitimate because of seductive photos of these animals and fake testimonials from satisfied customers. According to Google, the scammer’s goal was to exploit the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting high demand for puppies in the United States. He thus made several people believe that a puppy was going to be delivered to them. A scam “particularly harmful”in particular because it exploits “the joy of adopting a pet, resulting in both emotional harm and financial loss”according to the company.
Financial losses for the victims and for Google
This complaint stems from an investigation by Google into an abuse report submitted by AARP circa September 2021. This non-profit organization serves and advocates for older Americans. It alerts its members, businesses, government and the general public to fraud schemes and tactics collected through its network. According to the report, one of the victims sent $700 in e-gift cards to the scammer. After receiving them, the accused told him that a delivery company called “Sunshine Express” needed an additional $1,500. But the puppy never arrived.
Google claims that the scammer’s fraudulent and illegal activities have caused it financial harm, damage to its reputation, or forced it to spend more than $75,000 to investigate and remedy these harmful activities. With this lawsuit, his goal is not only to obtain damages but also to protect the victims of this scheme, to prevent the scammer from causing further harm and to raise awareness about these online scams.