A rise in the number of pets, and in particular puppies and kittens, being advertised for sale via online auction websites has been reported by Action Fraud.
Fraudsters are placing adverts online using stolen photos of pets claiming they are currently held abroad or somewhere less accessible within the UK.
Once a sale is agreed and payment is made, usually by money transfer or bank transfer, the pet does not materialise. The fraudsters will usually ask for further advanced payments to cover courier charges, shipping fees or vet bills.
Even if further payments are made, the pet will still not materialise as it is likely that the pet does not exist.
The reporting centre has released top tips on how to avoid being scammed when buying a pet, in the hope it may stop potential fraudsters.
To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.