Google Suing Man Running A "Puppy Fraud" Business

Daniel Mitchell-Benoit
Someone's phone displaying the Google homepage.
Unsplash | Solen Feyissa

Web-based scams are not only extremely prevalent in the digital age, but they seem to grow and evolve with each passing year, with scammers needing to be more creative as more people learn about fraudulent behavior online.

One man was recently caught in an elaborate internet scam promising puppies to buyers, but web giant Google came in to squash him and destroy his "business".

Google has recently filed a lawsuit against a man from Cameroon.

A basset hound.
Unsplash | Lauren McConachie

Nche Noes Ntse has been accused of using Google services to help him run a vast "puppy fraud" business.

This type of scheme isn't anything new. Essentially, it's a fake storefront in which people can buy what they believe are purebred puppies, with the website often dedicated to a specific breed. In this instance, it was basset hounds.

Ntse created quite the web of lies.

A basset hound on a hill.
Unsplash | Will Thomas

The site featured fake testimonials and stolen photos of the supposed pups they were selling. It's also alleged that Ntse had one-on-one conversations with potential customers, manipulating them into sending him money in exchange for a dog that didn't really exist.

What does Google have to do with it, though?

Someone's phone displaying the Google homepage.
Unsplash | Solen Feyissa

Ntse was using "dozens of fraudulent Google accounts" that had been set up with "Gmail and Google Voice [...] to communicate false promises to victims, register the fraudulent websites with U.S. internet hosting companies, and request and receive payments," according to the lawsuit.

Google’s Senior Counsel, Mike Trinh, and CyberCrime Investigation Group manager, Albert Shin, wrote a blog post on the matter.

A Google company building.
Unsplash | Alex Dudar

It reads, "Sadly, this scam disproportionately targeted older Americans, who can be more vulnerable to cyberattacks. The FTC and FBI report that older people are scammed out of an estimated $650 million per year.

"That’s why we’re taking proactive action to set a legal precedent, protect victims, disrupt the scammer’s infrastructure, and raise public awareness. Of course, legal action is just one way we work to combat these types of scams."

h/t: Gizmodo