Two breeders robbed of prize French bulldog puppies by 'scammer' with 'fake banking app'
Two dog breeders are believed to have fallen victim to the same con artist who told them a 'sob story' about needing puppies for his children - before snatching the 'designer dogs' and leaving without paying for them.
Tracey Wallis from Blackpool and Bubeto Kadiyska from Stoke on Trent were both promised at least £2,500 in exchange for the 'designer' French bulldog pups by a man they did not know this week.
But after handing over the puppies, they found the money they were promised had not gone into their bank accounts.
Tracey, 29, met the 'white man with a beard' at her home on Friday, May 14, after receiving a call from him. She said: "He phoned me up and said he was visiting Blackpool from Birmingham, that he was supposed to pick up another puppy but when he got to the house it wasn't the puppy he was looking for. He said he was devastated as he was supposed to pick up the puppy to surprise his kids when he got home.
"He sounded like a genuine person, asking about the puppy's mum and dad and asking all the questions that you usually would. I said it was fine and allowed him to come round."
She agreed to sell him the eight-week-old female Frenchie for £2,700, and says he produced a banking app on his phone to prove the money had been transferred. But when she check her bank account, she found it had not gone through.
She said: "By this point he had hold of the dog and all its paperwork and microchipping number. I was alone in my house with my son standing next to me. I was in no position to take the dog from him. I had no idea what he would do. At this point, I realised I had been scammed.
"We went to the car and there was another male sat in the passenger seat. He jumped into the car, passed the puppy to the other man and drove off."
She took a picture of the car, a black Skoda Octavia, as it drove away, and reported the incident to Blackpool police.
A police spokesman said she was advised to contact Action Fraud.
Following the incident, another puppy was taken in similar circumstances from Stoke-On-Trent yesterday after breeder Bubeto Kadisyska, 29, received a phone call from the same number that had been used to contact Tracey.
She said: "The guy came round to buy the puppy because I had advertised on Gumtree. He told us that he had two kids and the puppy was for his son's birthday which was the next day. He told us that he looked after his kids alone and his wife died when she gave birth to his daughter. He gave us a very sad story."
Again, the man agreed to pay £2,700 for the female pup and appeared to make a bank transfer using an app on his phone.
But Bubeto said became suspicious when she found out the name he had used to sign documents was different to the name on the driving licence he showed her. She checked her bank account, and discovered the money was not there.
She said: "I feel horrible. I'm very upset by what happened. I'm scared for the puppy because I don't know where she will go. Maybe she will be in a cage. I don't know."
Tracey said: "I have spoken to Bubeto, and found out they used the same phone number to call us. It wasn't the same man, but it was the same number. So I think it's a group who are all in on it. It's just awful.
"To be honest, I'm scared to death. I'm scared to leave the house. I'm scared for the welfare of the puppy that was stolen. I know they're only bothered about breeding her. I just want her home."
In March, a St Helens dog breeder also reported being targeted by con artists who used a fake banking app to take two male Bichon Frise puppies worth £5,000.
Maxine Conchie, of animal rescue group Harvey's Army, said: "We don't know if this case is linked to what happened in Liverpool, but we know the Blackpool and Stoke cases are connected. The puppies are clearly being taken to breed or to sell on. Something needs to be done about it."