The Ostrobothnian police department received twenty reports of fraud relating to reservation fees for puppies during March and April.
The buyers each paid a booking fee of between 200 and 300 euros for a puppy, which were being offered on websites such as Tori.fi and Nettimarkkinat, but no puppies were ever in existence.
The seller is a 30- to 40-year-old South Ostrobothnian man. Police were unwilling to further specify as to his exact location.
"The reason for his actions, according to the man, was a severe shortage of money. People previously committed burglaries, now they’ve turned to cybercrime," said Inspector Juha Järvelin from the Ostrobothnian Police.
The man confessed to his crimes during the investigation. He has not been imprisoned because, according to Järvelin, there are no conditions for imprisonment based on the Coercive Measures Act.
Järvelin told Yle he would like to remind consumers of the dangers of cybercrime and urged potential buyers to verify the trustworthiness of the seller. If the same vendor appears to be selling many different dog breeds, this should sound an alarm, Järvelin said.
"A scammer is happy to talk about what he is selling, but if he won’t give out his address, or otherwise withholds information about himself, there is reason to suspect that something is wrong," he added.