North Yorkshire Police warning over puppies for sale online scam
Pet lovers in North Yorkshire are being scammed while trying to buy puppies online.
Police say fraudsters are advertising animals for sale online and using coronavirus restrictions as a reason why customers cannot visit or see the puppies in person.
The seller then asks for money to be transferred in payment for the dog, as well as vet bills, vaccinations and other costs, on the promise that the dog will be delivered.
Once money has been paid, the scammers become uncontactable and no puppy ever arrives.
Kevin Ross of North Yorkshire Police’s Fraud and Economic Crime Unit said: "We’ve seen a number of scams which use lockdown or the coronavirus restrictions to trick individuals and unfortunately the lure of a new canine companion is one which has resulted in several people losing their money to this scam.
“We advise never to make any purchases online unless from a reputable seller or organisation and preferably by using a third party payment system like Paypal which offers protection from scammers.
“Purchasing a new pet is a decision that should never be taken lightly and we would urge anyone considering doing so to follow the RSPCA’s guidance.
"Not only will this help keep your money safe but it will also ensure the health and welfare of your new furry friend.”
A RSPCA spokesperson said: "We’d always encourage any family thinking of getting a dog to adopt a pet from their local rescue centre.
"If buying a puppy then we’d urge everyone to use The Puppy Contract to help them buy responsibly and find a happy, healthy dog.
"Most importantly, if you’re concerned about anything you see then walk away and contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 or the local council.”
RSPCA's top tips for buying a happy, healthy dog
* Always consider giving a rescue pet a new home instead of buying
* Do lots of research and ensure you can commit to a dog before getting one
* Ask the breeder lots of questions, visit the puppy multiple times and ask to see paperwork
* See the pup’s mum and watch her interacting with the litter;
* Never pay cash and if anything concerns you then do not hand over any money or buy a puppy, walk away and contact the RSPCA, local council or police.
If you have been a victim of a scam call police on 101.
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