The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and Action Fraud have noticed a rise in the reporting of pets, and in particular puppies and kittens, being advertised for sale via popular online auction websites.
The fraudsters will place an advert of the pet for sale, often claiming that the pet is currently held somewhere less accessible or overseas. Upon agreement of a sale, the suspect will usually request an advance payment by money transfer or bank transfer.
However, the pet does not materialise and the fraudster will subsequently ask for further advanced payments for courier charges, shipping fees and additional transportation costs.
Even if further payments are made, the pet will still not materialise as it is likely that the pet does not exist.
Advice to protect yourself
Stay within auction guidelines.
Be cautious if the seller initially requests payment via one method, but later claims that due to ‘issues with their account’ they will need to take the payment via an alternative method such as a bank transfer.
Request details of the courier company being used and consider researching it.
Agree a suitable time to meet face to face to agree the purchase and to collect the pet. Report fraud to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.