The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and Action Fraud have recently noticed a rise in the reporting of puppies and kittens up for sale on 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 to not exist.
Tips to staying safe when purchasing pets:
n Stay within auction guidelines.
n 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.
n When thinking of buying a pet, consider buying them in person from rescue centres or from reputable breeders.
If you have been affected by this fraud, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040.