A puppy fraudster has admitted scamming people out of deposits of up to £150 and then failing to hand over any pets.
Reece Nixon pleaded guilty to 20 charges of fraud by misrepresentation.
The charges against the 24-year-old, from Redcar, relate to purchase scams committed in April and May 2020, Teesside Live reports.
He tricked people into placing deposits of between £125 and £150 for advertised Labrador puppies they did not receive.
The case was adjourned at Teesside Magistrates Court on Tuesday for reports to be carried out and he will be sentenced in November.
Nixon, of Hanson Street, was granted unconditional bail.
Puppy scams rose dramatically over lockdown, with fraudsters taking advantage of prospective owners.
Many have put down deposits on pets advertised online, only to be let down and have their money stolen, Greater Manchester Police say.
The RSPCA said the following tell-tale signs may indicate a seller is not operating above board.
- Dealers may use the same contact number on more than one advert. Try Googling the number to see if it has been used on any other puppy adverts
- Descriptions may have been copied and pasted and used on more than one advert – try Googling the description and see if it has been used before, word-for-word
- Words like ‘miniature’ and ‘teacup’ can be a sign of dealers trying to capitalise on popular terms
- Photos of the puppies may have been used on other adverts
- If the advert says a puppy has been vaccinated – check how old he or she is. A puppy cannot be vaccinated before four to six weeks of age
- If the puppy is advertised as having a passport, it has most probably been imported
- Some dealers claim they are Kennel Club Registered to convey legitimacy – but be wary of this, ask for original documents and check with the Kennel Club before buying a puppy
- Promises of ‘free insurance’ and ‘puppy packs’ do not mean the advert is from a legitimate breeder