Warning as fraudsters scam Lancashire animal lovers hoping to buy a pet
People looking to buy puppies and kittens were today warned to be vigilant after figures revealed 669 people, including some in Lancashire, have fallen victim to fraudsters during the lockdown.
UK victims put down deposits totalling £282,686 after bogus pet sale ads were placed online.
David Wilding, fraud safeguarding officer for Lancashire Police, warned buyers to do their research.
He said: “ The fraudster will advertise pet for sale on platforms like social media and dedicated websites.
“Typically the victim is asked to pay a deposit.
“The fraudster won’t let the pet be collected in person due to the lockdown, and will insist on ‘shipping’ the pet to the victim’s address.
“After the initial payment has been made, more funds will be requested to cover delivery costs, pet insurance or vaccinations. “Each time the funds are sent another request will come.”
Advice from Lancashire Police:
Do your research. Before purchasing anything online, including pets, look up reviews for the site or the person you are buying from. If you are still not sure, ask a trusted friend or family member for their advice.
Trust your instincts – If you cannot physically go to see the animal in person, ask for a video call. If the seller declines, challenge them. Trust your instincts and do not go ahead with the purchase if you don’t feel comfortable.
Choose your payment method wisely – if you decide to go ahead with the purchase, avoid paying by bank transfer which offers you little protection if you become a victim of fraud. Use a credit or payment service such as Paypal.