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Take care – don’t fall for a cute scam 23 July 2012

Despite a recent warning from the Office it seems that consumers are still being caught by scammers advertising pets online.

A UK consumer was won over by images of a puppy advertised on a website and contacted the seller via e-mail. The seller provided a residential address in the Isle of Man.

However, after paying a large sum of money using the Moneygram service for the transportation of the dog and further money because of the animal’s “health problems” the consumer still did not receive the puppy. Realising that even if the puppy exists it would not be delivered to them they reported the issue to the Office. The consumer involved in this particular case has lost thousands of pounds.

If you are interested in an animal advertised in this way please check carefully what is being offered. Visit the seller and view the animal yourself. Do not pay any money up front – if you cannot collect the animal yourself arrange and pay for transport costs directly with a carrier.

Andrea Tabb, Advice Centre Manager commented “Scammers are preying on our soft-heartedness – often these animals are advertised with stories such as being homeless because the owner can no longer look after them. It is understandable that pet lovers want to give them a good home but this makes them vulnerable to being scammed. It is not always possible for the Office to say that something is definitely a scam, however, the simple truth is that if something seems too good to be true it probably is.”

Consumers who would like further advice on scams should visit the OFT website http://www.gov.im/oft/consumers/scams.xml or you can contact the consumer advisers on 686500.

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