Pet sales online scams

North Yorkshire Police are noticing an increase in fraud involving the sale of pets online. Read on for their latest advice. Many people during lockdown have been tempted to purchase a puppy or kitten and are turning to websites offering such pets. The fraudster will advertise puppies and kittens for sale on social media platforms and selling platforms, including websites dedicated to pet sale. The victim will be asked to pay a deposit to secure the purchase. The fraudster will not let the pet be collected in person due to the lockdown, and will insist on shipping the pet to the victim’s address. After the initial payment has been made, more funds will be requested to cover delivery costs, pet insurance or vaccinations. Each time the funds are sent another request will come.

Whilst it is tempting during the time you are at home to look at purchasing a pet, please think about what will happen when you return to work. Please do the following to protect yourself:

  • Do your research – Before purchasing anything online, including pets, look up reviews for the site, or person you are buying from. If you are still not sure, ask a trusted friend or family member for their advice.
  • Trust your instinct – If you cannot physically go to see the animal in person, ask for a video call. If the seller declines, challenge them on why. If you have any suspicions, do not go ahead with the purchase.
  • Choose your payment method wisely – If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, avoid paying by bank transfer which offers you little protection if you become a victim of fraud. Instead, use a credit card or a payment service such as PayPal.

North Yorkshire Community Messaging (NYCM) is managed by North Yorkshire Police.  The official website is which will allow you to sign into your account to change your delivery method preference or locations of interest. It also contains a FAQs section, which may assist with any queries you have.