Sussex Police are urging people to be cautious after several people in Sussex have become victims of pet buying scams.

The suspect typically advertises kittens or puppies for sale online, and uses the current Covid-19 outbreak as the reason why the pet can't be visited.   They will send photos and/or videos in order to persuade the victim to make a deposit or

even full payment in advance.  They may also try to get the victim to cover 'unforeseen costs' such as vaccinations or insurance for the animal.

Victims have so far responded to adverts on Facebook and on pet selling sites.  Payments were made, yet the pets were never provided.

In order to protect yourself from becoming a victim of this type of scame, the polic recommend the following:

  • Do your research - research the sellers carefully prior to parting with any money and check whether they have any terms and conditions or a return policy

  • Trust your instinct - if it doesn't feel right, then walk away

  • Choose a payment method that protects you - if you are happy to go ahead with the purchase of a pet, then avoid paying by bank transfer, as you are not protected should you become a victim of fraud.   Use a credit card, or a payment service such as PayPal

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