Hampshire County Council Trading Standards have been made aware by of a rise in reports concerning the purchase of pets, in particular puppies, advertised for sale via popular online auction websites.

The fraudsters will place an advert of the pet for sale, claiming to have recently moved abroad and the need to re-home the puppies.

Once a sale is agreed and payment is made, usually by money transfer or bank transfer, the pet does not materialise. The fraudster will usually ask for further advanced payments for courier charges, shipping fees or vet bills.

Protect yourself:

Stay within the auction guidelines. Be wary of paying fees via a Money Service Bureau, such as MoneyGram and Western Union.

Consider conducting research on other information provided by the seller; for example a mobile phone number or email address used by the seller could alert you to any negative information associated with this number online.

Request details of the courier company being used and conduct enquiries regarding the company Agree a suitable time to meet face to face to agree the purchase.

Be wary. If you think the purchase price is too good to be true then this is probably an indication that it is!

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online at Action Fraud or by telephone on 0300 123 2040.

Hampshire Trading Standards have produced guidance on buying a puppy, which can be found by clicking on the following link: http://www3.hants.gov.uk/tradingstandards/tradingstandards-consumer/animalhealth-consumers/tsguide-puppy.htm

For further consumer advice, or to report a matter to Trading Standards, contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.

Polly has almost 20 years in the media industry. As Editor of Andover and Villages, she strives to bring the latest and greatest news with a minutes notice. Polly can be contacted via editor@andoverandvillages.co.uk or alternatively called at