BEWARE OF CONMEN SELLING PETS. There is a lot of news of people who would not normally adopt a cat or dog deciding to take the plunge because they are confined during the coronavirus lockdowns which are typical of most countries. Scammers are taking advantage of this heightened desire to adopt a cat or dog by inexperienced people. Fraudsters who have no compunction in exploiting any weakness even if it is highly immoral.
In the UK, The Chartered Trading Standards Insitute (CTSI) report that fake adverts selling dogs and cats are appearing on social media and pet sale platforms. The Times reports that a total of 669 people reported bogus pet sales in March and April with losses of around £300,000. Action Fraud, estimates that £2 million has been taken by fraudsters so far. The sams are not confined to online social media. They encompass text messages, emails and doorstep approaches as well.
One problem is that the only secure way to adopt a cat or dog is to visit the seller or rescue center (preferred). During the current restricitions this is more difficult. It is essential to visit breeders and check the place and their cats or dogs when buying pedigree companion animal. If you don’t do that you take risks.
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has led to an unprecedented surge in scams throughout the country. CTSI is working with our partners in the consumer protection sphere to warn and protect the public from newly emerging scams themed around the crisis. If we all share these messages and report instances of scams, we will help minimise the negative impacts of these behaviours during this period. — CTSI Lead Officer, Katherine Hart.
Comment: Social media is a hotbed for scammers and fakers. It also happens in cat rescue when cat rescuers plead for donations on the back of sad images of cats in dire need of rescuing and treatment. This tugs at the heartstrings and has a high chance of a positive response. There has always been fraudulent behavior in pet sales but the coronavirus crisis has made people more vulnerable. I am guessing that the classic scam is for sellers to ask for money upfront perhaps as a deposit and the buyer never hears from them again. Never pay upfront unless you are with the seller and have a contract and are convinced that they are bona fide.