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Facebook puppy scam warning

Lincolnshire Trading Standards is warning people about a scam targeting puppy and dog buyers.

We have received a complaint from a Lincoln resident who has fallen victim to a puppy scam via Facebook.

On a Facebook ‘For Sale’ page, a lady advertised two dogs for sale, as she was moving house and her new landlord wouldn’t accept pets. The Lincoln resident emailed the seller expressing an interest in the dogs. The seller replied saying she would arrange for the dogs to be sent over from Scotland, in return for £150 being paid via Western Union to cover the courier.

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As the seller seemed genuine the Lincoln resident paid the £150. She then received a further email asking for £500 to cover the cost of insurance.

Angela Kane, Lincolnshire Trading Standards said:

“This has all the hallmarks of an advanced fee scam which sadly we see quite often.

“It is very likely that the dogs the consumer thought she was buying didn’t exist, and it was all part of a scam to obtain money fraudulently.

“In this particular case, the scam involved a fake pet courier service, but we are aware of other scams targeting puppy buyers with fake website adverts, usually advertising predigree dogs at bargain prices.

“These scammers pose as breeders and create a website or classified ad page. They steal photographs and text from actual breeder websites. The potential buyer then contacts the seller who asks them to send a deposit, usually via Western Union.

“Once they have done this, the buyer doesn’t hear anymore and they don’t receive the puppy because there never was one. These scammers usually operate from foreign countries and there is no chance of getting any money back.

“The vast majority of breeders advertising puppies for sale are legitimate breeders, however you must keep your guard up for these scam ‘breeders’.”

Beware of any advertisements in which:

  • Pedigree puppies being given away for free, with just the transport cost to pay
  • Sob stories to explain why they can no longer keep them
  • The seller does not live in your local area
  • You are pushed into a decision
  • Payment required which can’t be traced i.e. by Western Union, MoneyGram, Money Transfer

If you are looking to purchase a puppy, our advice is:

  • Do not to enter into any binding contracts over the internet
  • Under no circumstances provide bank account details and only give card details through trusted and secure systems
  • By all means use the internet to locate a breeder, but check them out carefully before parting with any cash
  • Go and see the animal at home with its mother before agreeing to buy
  • Only agree to buy during a face to face transaction
  • Seek the advice of a local vet

 

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Last updated: 18 December 2013

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