Police in Cheshire have warned the public of a rise in pet buying scams during the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the start of lockdown, West Midlands Police warned 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.
Cheshire Police attributed the rise of scams to victims not being able to view the animal before purchase due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Officers said often after a deposit is paid, “criminals” may then ask for more cash for insurance or vaccinations, leaving victims over £1,000 out of pocket and no pet being provided.
Chris Jacques, detective sergeant, Economic Crime Unit said: “I would urge people to think very carefully before buying a pet online and be aware of the scams that are circulating at the moment.
“Sadly this is just one of a number of scams that have been reported to us during the coronavirus pandemic.If you do decide that you want to buy a pet online then be sure to do your research and think about whether you know and trust the person you are buying from.”
He added: “I would urge anyone who believes that they have been a victim of this kind of fraud to report it by calling Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk.”