At first, Google goes to court after a dog fraud

For the tech giant for the first time, Google filed a consumer protection lawsuit to protect vulnerable and skeptical people in what is called a “scandalous” scheme: cute, but imaginative, dog sales.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, California on Monday, claiming that Nche Noel Ntse, a Cameroon man, was using dogs with a range of Google services, including a Gmail account, Google Voice number and advertising. The buyers cheated.

Mr Antes tempted his victims with “cute” and “charming” pictures of pure breed dogs, “compelling testimonies from compulsive customers” who exploited the high demand for dogs in the United States during the coronary virus outbreak. , According to court documents.

Google says it has spent more than $ 75,000 to “research and refine” Mr. Ants’ activities, and is suing for financial loss, damaging relations with the company’s users and its reputation. Referring to damage.

“It seems to be a particularly egregious abuse of our products,” Michael Train, a lawyer for Google, said by phone on Monday.

The company says it prevents 100 million malicious emails from reaching users daily, but Mr Train said he hopes the suit will move forward, exemplifying Mr Nts. Google decided that criminal charges in the case should not be pursued because he believed the civil lawsuit would be a speedy remedy, Mr Train added. “This is an ongoing battle.”

The lawsuit is Google’s first consumer protection lawsuit, said company spokesman Jose Costina. He added that based on a vast network of sites run by Mr. Annette, Google estimates the victims collectively raised more than $ 1 million.

Google’s legal action has since come to the rescue of epidemic pets, as well as an increase in schemes to capitalize on that desire.

Last year, consumers reported losing $ 70 billion over $ 5.8 billion to fraud, an increase of 70 to 2020 percent, according to Federal Trade Commission data. According to the Better Business Bureau, online shopping schemes in particular have skyrocketed during the epidemic. The group estimates that in 2021, pet-related fraud accounted for 35% of such reports.

Google first became aware of Mr. Annette’s activities around September 2021, after receiving reports of abuse from the AARP, an advocacy group for older Americans.

According to reports, a man in South Carolina contacted Mr. Ents via email in search of a dog after visiting a website he was running, which is now closed. After correspondence with Mr Ntse via email and text, the man later sent him $ 700 in an electronic gift card, adding to the report, “Victim 1 never received a dog.”

According to the case summary, Mr. Nates is a search engine, which is the port city of more than two million people in Cameroon. He operates other websites, including one that intends to sell marijuana and prescription opiate cuff syrup, the lawsuit says.

“When you go to buy a dog, you don’t expect to be a criminal on the other side,” said Paul Brady, who runs PetScams.com, which tracks and reports on websites that sell animals. Make false claims.

Scammers, often located outside the United States, post pictures and videos of dogs at low rates and request online prepayments, and sometimes additional inventory costs, such as animal quarantines or delivery fees.

Such schemes have been “exploded” in the last two years, Mr Brady said, as scammers capitalize on people’s isolation and take advantage of Lockdown, which limits their ability to travel far from home to collect a dog. General Chat Chat Lounge

“People are lonely, and they want the companionship of an animal,” he said, recalling a particularly shocking event in which a woman spent $ 25,000 trying to buy a pomeranian dog.

Rael Raskovich, 28, said the experience of giving up through an online pet scheme was disastrous.

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

He searched for his options, eventually filling out an online form, now ineligible, which included detailed questions about his animal care plans, he said, which convinced him the process was legitimate.

He wire $ 700 to the seller, who sends him a video that he thinks is his soon-to-be dog. He bought a toy and a dog bed.

Then, he said, the seller claimed that the dog needed an extra $ 1,300 for the Corona virus vaccination and an air-conditioned shipping credit. Ms Raskovich said she was told there was a hope A call from Delta Airlines, whose seller claimed he was transporting the animal – but when he called to confirm, the airline told him it was not sending the animals.

“Then I was like, ‘OK, this is definitely not legal,'” he said, adding that he ended the communication. The seller’s identity was never determined.

“Be prepared for this new addition to your life,” said Ms. Rakovich. “This is stupid.”

Kristen Noyes contributed to the reporting.

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