Police offer crime prevention advice following a rise in pet scams last week in Greater Manchester
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Scam puppy and kitten adverts on social media platforms have been on the rise in Manchester last week with four cases recorded. Officers give out prevention advice to help the public stay safe from fraud when looking at buying animals.
Pet sellers advertise on common selling platforms such as Facebook marketplace and Gumtree which do not provide buyers with any protection on their purchases.
Unsuspecting victims are usually asked to pay a deposit for the animal without seeing it in person first, only through online images and videos.
After the initial payment is made, more money is usually requested to cover additional buying costs such as insurance and vaccinations and even sometimes a cost to cover the ‘delivery’ of the animal to your door.
Detective Sergeant Stacey Shannon of GMP’s Economic Crime Unit, said: “We are trying to provide the public with specific advice to stop you falling victim to this type of crime and we would always recommend that you view the animal in person before sending any money over.
It is easy to be taken in by adverts of puppies and kittens online and rush into a decision to purchase a pet.
“But we encourage you to Take 5 and slow this process down and don’t be rushed into making any rash decisions, think about what steps you will take next, what do you need to do to ensure that this is a genuine purchase.
Protecting yourself against online pet fraud
Ask to see the animal in person before making any payments and if the seller is not in Greater Manchester, try to schedule a video call. If your request to either see the animal in person or online is declined, perhaps look for a new seller.
Review the sellers’ reviews and history and ask about any “hidden fees” such as visits to the vet, vaccines and delivery which is usually made after the initial ‘deposit’ funds have been sent.
Don’t use bank transfers – you are largely unprotected with this method of purchase. Consider scheduling a face-to-face meeting with the seller and pay in cash or payment services such as PayPal that allow you to recover your money in case of a scam.
Report to Action fraud if you suspect you have become the victim of a pet scam by calling 0300 123 2040.