West Midlands Police is warning the public against buying pets online without visiting them first, as they fear criminals are taking advantage of the current Covid-19 pandemic.
Online sellers are using the current crisis restrictions as an excuse for not being able to visit the animals and are sending images instead. West Midlands Police revealed 10 reported victims across the area recently.
The police said people seeking the companionship of a new pet during the Covid-19 lockdown are being conned by cruel fraudsters, with victims handing over hundreds of pounds for kittens and pups being falsely advertised for sale.
Kloe Burrows, Economic Crime Unit (ECU) said: “These con-artists are preying on insecurities during the Covid-19 outbreak. People may be feeling lonely due to the lockdown and seeking some companionship; some may want the fresh focus of caring for a new pet.
“These scammers want to take advantage of this and it’s important to take precautions to make sure you’re dealing with a reputable seller and not become a fraud victim.”
The news comes as the police reported other cons over the last month including online shoppers who’ve ordered protective face masks, hand sanitiser and Covid-19 testing kits which never arrive.