Former Indian minister falls for online puppy scam

A former Indian minister has been duped in an online puppy sale.

Salman Khurshid, who had served in the previous government, tried buying a pedigree Maltese puppy on a website that was offering them for cheap.

However, that was not to be. This came to light after Khurshid filed a police report against the ecommerce scammer, Press Trust of Indiareports.

"On February 13, I came across an advertisement on the internet for the sale of two Maltese puppies by one Tonny Wallace for Rs 12,000 ($180) per puppy," Khurshid said in a complaint filed at a New Delhi police station.

A Maltese puppy usually costs between Rs 50,000 ($750) and Rs 125,000 ($1,875).

The statement added: "I sent an email to the address tonnywallace@gmail.com, provided in the advertisement, expressing my interest in purchasing the puppies. Tonny said he was in Thekkady, Kerala, and I agreed to wire the money as Tonny said the puppies would be delivered at my residence in New Delhi on receipt of the payment."

The seller then demanded more money for the medical check-up and health certificates of the puppies to enable their travel from Kerala to Delhi.

Khurshid was "introduced" to a pet travel agency called Pacific Pet Relocaters and was asked to pay another Rs 59,000 ($885).

So Khurshid deposited the amount in the bank account provided by Wallace and mailed him the payment details. Wallace also stated that he would be reachable on his U.S. number and on Facebook.

Days went by and the puppies were not delivered. Wallace was unavailable too.

We checked and Pacific Pet Relocaters doesn't seem to exist online, either.

Khurshid then filed a case against Wallace under Section 420 (Cheating) and 120B (Criminal Conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 66(D) of the Information Technology Act. The police are trying to identify the accused through the bank account details and the Facebook page link.

While there are plenty of warnings out there against buying pets online, it appears Khurshid has fallen for one of the oldest tricks in the ecommerce scam book.

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