Demand for pets (especially during lockdown) and our reliance on easy, convenient online shopping have sadly fueled pet related crime in recent years. According to Action Fraud over £2.6million was lost by prospective pet owners to fake and fraudulent pet adverts in 2020/21, up 20% on the previous year. The real cost to the animals and human victims involved is of course far greater.
Friday-Ad actively works with industry charities, local councils, police forces and other enforcement agencies to safeguard animal welfare and crack down on illegal sellers and pet related crimes.
If you have been affected by pet fraud, know that you are not alone and that help is available. You will not be judged, and any information you can provide will be gratefully received. It will help to investigate the individuals concerned, and protect animals and prospective buyers like yourself.
Here is our guide on what to do if you suspect or have been affected by pet fraud…
How to report:
1) Suspicious animal ads:
If you come across suspicious animal ads, always report them to the affected website in the first instance.
At Friday-Ad we use a very sophisticated moderation system to detect and prevent fraudulent adverts appearing on our website. ALL of our animal adverts are manually checked before they go live. We request additional information and identification from pet advertisers new to our site, before they are able to place an advert.
To evade detection and keep us on our toes, criminals change their methods, locations, IP addresses, names and contact details all the time. If you see a suspicious animal advert on friday-ad.co.uk, or have been in touch with a seller who has given you reason for concern, PLEASE report them.
Simply click on the ‘Report Ad’ button displayed on ALL of the adverts on our website, and provide as much (or as little) details as you can. Alternatively you can contact our team directly and in confidence via email@example.com. Our team will be able to offer help and advice, and take appropriate action.
You can also report suspicious ads to: Trading Standards, RSPCA/SSPCA, the Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG), Action Fraud and HMRC. Advice and full contact details are available here.
2) Falling victim to pet fraud:
If you have paid a deposit for an animal that didn’t exist, purchased a sick pet or been defrauded in any other way via an animal advert you saw on friday-ad.co.uk, PLEASE report it to our team.
You can contact our team directly and in confidence via firstname.lastname@example.org. Our experienced agents will be able to offer help and advice on what to do next. They can take appropriate action and put you in touch with the relevant authorities. We regularly work with stakeholders across the industry to support investigations, give evidence and help secure convictions.
The more information you can provide, the better. Take screenshots of the advert and/or the URL, any background information on the contact you have had with the seller, messages exchanged (if not sent via our secure messenger), etc.
If you have fallen victim to pet fraud via an advert you saw on a different selling site, you should contact the affected website, your local Trading Standards office and Action Fraud. Advice and full contact details are available here.
3) Animal Cruelty and Welfare Concerns:
If you see an animal advert on friday-ad.co.uk that is a serious animal welfare concern, PLEASE report it to our team. You can contact our team directly and in confidence via email@example.com. Our team will be able to offer help and advice, and take appropriate action.
We hope you’ll find this guide useful. If you still don’t know where to turn, PLEASE ask for help. Contact our team via firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team will be able to offer advice and support. You are not alone!
Our advice for buying cats and dogs online safely
For detailed advice on how to buy a pet visit howtobuyapet.org.uk