The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) has issued an update about “bogus inspectors” after receiving intelligence from a member of the public.
The charity revealed that on 4 February 2021 it had learnt of people posing as inspectors to dupe people into handing over their animals.
It had previously been reported that the fraudsters were using a white van with black writing. Since receiving the information, the fake agents are now suspected to also be using a black van with white writing, very similar to the charity’s own fleet.
This incident reportedly happened in the Lanarkshire area.
Chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “Thankfully the member of the public became suspicious and didn’t hand over their pet. We are now asking the public to be aware of anyone coming to the door as the Scottish SPCA.
“We believe these bogus inspectors to also be using black vans with white writing which are almost identical to our own vans. If someone tells you they are from the RSPCA then please report them immediately as they do not operate at all in Scotland.”
He claimed that while the police can “legally seize an animal from a property” they will only do so if the welfare of the animal is “seriously compromised, needs vet treatment or the environment is not safe”, adding that only Police Scotland and the local authority have the same powers.
Flynn added: “Our inspectors will always be in uniform and will be able to provide identification badges with a photo and authorisation. Our inspectors will also be happy to provide you with vehicle registration.
“If you are at all unsure about someone who comes to your door as the Scottish SPCA then ask them to wait outside and call us immediately. Our inspectors will respect your need to do this.”