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Woman reveals she lost £500 in ‘cruel’ dog-napping scam

Woman reveals she lost £500 in ‘cruel’ dog-napping scam

She fell victim to a 'very, very cruel' scam after losing her pet dog

A woman has revealed she lost £500 - and almost thousands more – in a ‘cruel’ dog-napping scam, having been convinced that thieves were about to kill her beloved pet.

In a recent Channel 5 show, Internet Scams: Don’t Get Caught Out, presenter Alexis Conran warned viewers about a number of schemes that fraudsters are currently using to try and sneak money from us.

In one segment, we meet Alifiya, who was the victim of a ‘very, very cruel scam’ after she lost her pet miniature dachshund Violet.

Violet, who is almost four, had been out with her dog walker in January last year when Alicia got a phone call to say she’d ‘just run off’.

Alifiya, from Greater Manchester, normally keeps track of her dog with an Air Tag, but on this occasion the gadget had run out of battery.

Devastated, she produced flyers and shared them online in the hopes that others would help her find Violet.

Alifiya shared her cautionary tale in a Channel 5 show about scammers.
Channel 5

“My name, my number, my face was all over the internet,” she said in the episode.

“I exhausted social media, and people were reposting my posts thousands of times.”

Scammers’ Trick #1: Scrape the web

Conran explained how scammers ‘scour the web for lost dog reports’.

“Spreading lots of information far and wide seems like a sensible thing to do, but it gives an opportunity to scammers,” Conran explained, adding: “When they saw Alifiya’s, they decided to strike.

“After a sickening 24 hours with no sign of Violet, one of them called her, claiming he had the dog.”

She made flyers and posted them online.
Channel 5
Channel 5

Alifiya said she felt ‘so joyful’ when she thought someone might finally have an answer.

However, the scammer didn’t actually have Violet – they just had the detailed description of the dog from Alifiya’s online posts.

Scammers’ Trick #2: Emotional blackmail

They told her she could have her pet back, but would have to ‘pay for her’.

Alifiya sucked it up, having planned to give a reward out anyway, and asked for a picture to ‘make sure she’s safe’.

“He started off at £2,000, and then I asked for another picture, just to make sure that she was okay,” she continued.

“He said, ‘Ask me for a picture again, I’ll send you a video of me killing her.

“He told me that he would get a lot of joy out of watching her being killed, and it wouldn’t be a quick death.”

The false threats against Violet were a ‘deliberate ploy’ to get Alifiya’s money, Conran said.

The more worried she was, the more likely it was she’d cough up to save her dog.

The scammers told her she could have Violet back, but would have to ‘pay for her’.
Channel 5

In the end, the scammer agreed to release Violet for £1,000, with £500 paid upfront.

After transferring the money, Alifiya agreed to meet the stranger at a car park in Stockport, with the scammer telling her there would be a white van parked up there.

But when she got to the location, there was ‘no white van’, and when she called up the scammer they told her she was too late as they’d left.

Of course, they were never there in the first place, as they didn’t have Violet after all – but they did have Alifiya’s £500.

Did Violet the dachshund ever get found?

As for Violet? Thankfully, that part has a happy ending.

After another three days went by without any sign of the dog, Alifiya tried the Air Tag once again after hearing they could still work even after the battery had drained.

Lo and behold, it showed a pin for Violet – who was stood 'wagging her tail’ by the river after getting ‘camouflaged’ with the sandy bank.

Violet was eventually found on a riverbank, 'wagging her tail'.
Channel 5
Alifiya waded into the river to rescue her.
Channel 5

“She was just stood there,” Alifiya said.

“And I just took my coat off and jumped right in, and went across the river and got her!”

Internet Scams: Don’t Get Caught Out is available to watch now on My5.

You can also catch Identity Theft: Don’t Get Caught Out on Wednesday 28 February at 8pm on Channel 5.

Featured Image Credit: Channel 5

Topics: Crime, Money, Dog, TV And Film, Documentaries