Falkirk crime: Forth Valley Police warn of dangers of buying a puppy online

Police in Forth Valley have shared a warning about the danger of buying puppies online.

The cautionary tale came from Trading Standards Scotland following recent reports of fraudulent adverts for puppies on online marketplaces.

It highlighted the case of a woman who saw an advert for a Jack Russell puppy costing £1000 on Gumtree. She contacted the seller and paid a £100 deposit, arranging a collection date for mid-April.

A couple of weeks later, the seller asked for the remaining £900 to cover the expenses of keeping the puppy as he was struggling with the cost of living.

People are being warned of the dangers of buying a puppy online

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Trading Standards said: “At this stage, the woman felt suspicious that the seller may be a scammer and asked them to return her deposit. The seller did not reply and cut off all contact with the woman.

“A few days later she saw an advert for the same puppy on Gumtree, now for the price of £650.

"The advert has now been taken down and the seller is being investigated.”

They issued the following advice and said that you can never do too much research before buying a new pet.

Their warning stated: “Illegal dealers may use the same description and photo on more than one advert - try entering the text of the description and photo in a search engine to see if they have been used on any other puppy adverts.

"Research the seller - is their phone number or email address linked to different profiles? Are they advertising several different breeds of dog? Are they reluctant to answer questions about the puppies' mother or provide paperwork?”

They also said don't buy a puppy without seeing paperwork and certificates for vaccinations, microchipping and worming.

You should also insist on seeing the puppy with its mother in the home in which it was raised. Be suspicious if the seller wants to meet in a car park or public space.

Finally, they warned: “Don't pay a deposit without seeing the dog in person. Be suspicious if the seller tries to rush you into handing over cash.”

You can find out more on the Scottish SPCA Say No To Puppy Dealers website or from Trading Standards Scotland.