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 the 2020/21 financial year, up 20% on the previous year. The real cost to the animals and human victims involved is of course far greater.
Friday-Ad is part of the Animal Welfare Alliance for the protection of animals and buyers online. We work with a number of industry partners, 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 both us and our partners will be grateful for the information you can share. It will help us investigate the individuals concerned, and protect animals and prospective buyers like you.
Here is our guide on what to do if you suspect pet fraud or have been affected by pet crime yourself:
1) If you notice suspicious ads and sellers on Friday-Ad:
We use a very sophisticated moderation system to detect and prevent fraudulent adverts going live on our website. ALL of our animal adverts are manually checked by one of our team 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. They will be able to offer help and advice, and take appropriate action.
2) If you have been the victim of pet fraud from an advert on Friday-Ad:
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, help build cases and give evidence.
The more information you can provide, the better. E.g. 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.
3) If you suspect or have experienced criminal activity or animal welfare issues on other sites:
As part of the Animal Welfare Alliance, we work closely with a number of other marketplace sites and industry bodies to share information on suspicious activity and sellers. This ensure that fraudulent and ‘phishing’ ads can be removed from all of the alliance websites, and criminal activity centrally investigated by Animal Protection Services (APS).
To report a sick animal, concerns regarding animal welfare or pet related crime (outside of the Friday-Ad), PLEASE use the Animal Protection Services’ confidential reporting form.
If you have been the victim of pet related crime, 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 email@example.com or our trusted partner the Animal Protection Services (APS). We will be able to offer advice and support. You are not alone.
For detailed advice on how to buy a pet visit howtobuyapet.org.uk