A DOG lover's faith in humanity has been battered after savings was fraudulently taken in the promise of a new puppy.
Joanne Chester handed out more than $1000 to someone who promised they were religious and would never scam anyone.
Two months later, Ms Chester is still waiting for her money to be returned.
In November, the Stawell resident wanted to purchase a puppy for her cousin after his dog passed away.
"I'm a bit embarrassed, I'm a bit gullible," she said.
"I googled Daschund puppies and it came up with photos and pictures of people with the dogs. It looked credible to me.
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"We started talking over Facebook messenger about the puppies and they explained the process. I had to pay $1200 and that would include all the transfer costs from Perth, Western Australia.
"I did think it was strange the name they gave me wasn't the same as the person I had been dealing with."
Ms Chester said she transferred the money but then something didn't feel right.
"I asked if they were a scam," she said.
"I was assured it was a legitimate business and they sent through tracking numbers of the pup.
"I looked up the tracking numbers on the website they provided. It looked all in order."
Waiting for the new puppy to arrive, Ms Chester once again reached out to the person on social media asking for more information.
"I was told I needed to pay a further $2500 for transport costs for the puppy," she said.
"I argued back saying it's not what I was told. They told me the puppy was in a cage at with the transport company and I would be charged with animal abuse if I didn't give them the money to get the puppy on the way.
"I transferred them more money but the more questions I asked, the more I was unsure.
"There were more than three people involved in the whole scam.
"I rang my bank and was able to get the second amount of money back because it was still pending."
Ms Chester said she had suffered anxiety and stress over the whole ordeal.
"I really wanted to do something nice and I can't believe someone could treat others like they have," she said.
"I wouldn't buy another dog online - I would make sure I go and see the dog in person."
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