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Warning to animal lovers as hundreds fall victim in pet-buying scam

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© Pixabay

In the past two months, 668 animal lovers have been cruelly conned out of thousands of pounds after answering fake pet sale ads in a coronavirus scam.

By Zoë Monk

Published on the 07/05/2020, 18:00, Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:28


Criminals are exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to trick animal lovers in lockdown into handing over cash before they can travel to meet their new pets.

In just two months the police say that 699 people have been left devastated after losing over £282,000 after responding to fake online pet advertisements.

Fake ads

After the victim responds to the advert, they are asked to pay a deposit which is followed by demands for more money to cover vaccinations, pet insurance and even delivering the pet.

For most people paying a deposit upfront to reserve a puppy or kitten and then waiting a while to see it in real life can seem quite plausible, especially given the country is in lockdown. However, as many people are discovering, the pets they thought they were buying don’t actually exist.

Think before you buy

The message to pet lovers is to think before you part with your money. Do you know this person at the other end of the advert? Can you trust them?

Anyone looking to buy a pet should always do their research first. Find out as much as you can about the website and the seller and ask to see a video of the animals they have on sale. If you have any doubts, don’t go ahead with the purchase and perhaps consider adopting from a rescue shelter instead.

Just adopted a pet? Read expert advice from our vets on keeping your new pet healthy!