A DOG lover who was conned out of £350 through an internet scam is urging others to be on their guard.
The Kirkintilloch woman placed a wanted advert for a Chihuahua pup on the Gumtree internet site.
Members of the public use the site to buy, sell and offer everything from cars and jobs to homes and pets.
The woman was delighted to receive a reply from a woman in Londonderry, in Northern Ireland, to say she had a puppy for £450.
She transferred £350 and a further £100 was due to be paid when she received the pup.
But when the mum later received calls from a man in Nairobi, Kenya, demanding the rest of the money, she realised it was a scam.
She said: “I’m heartbroken about this.
“I was sent pictures of the puppy called Bella and was told how friendly and playful she was. The woman who was selling said she was ill and needed to go to France for treatment, so had to rehome the dog.
“I received a few calls from a man from Nairobi hassling me for the rest of the money, that’s when I twigged it was a scam.
“I can’t believe someone would do this. I don’t want anyone else to go through what I have.”
Gumtree publishes warnings about potential scams in the safety advice section of its website.
These include pet shipping scams. It states: “A seller will claim to have a pet and will offer to ship them from an overseas location, or even get you to book seats on a plane.
“These are usually sought after dog breeds such as English Bulldogs, Yorkshire Terriers and Chihuahuas.
“These ads are usually accompanied by staged pictures. The pets don’t exist and the fraudsters are simply trying to get you to pay money upfront. Remember, be wary of overseas sellers.”
East Dunbartonshire Council’s head of housing and community services, Kenny Simpson, said: “We have discovered that puppy scams has been reported in other areas of the UK. If you are in any doubt about any purchase or are worried about a potential scam contact Trading Standards on 0141 578 8813, where we will be able to offer advice and assistance.”