protect yourself from scams
Like many other legitimate companies, Animalcouriers is finding its name and branding — and even its phone number — being used by scammers. A typical scam involves promising delivery of an animal — such as a puppy, kitten, parrot or monkey — using Animalcouriers as the designated transporter, and asking you to pay the transport costs upfront by Western Union or MoneyGram.
By using the name of a legitimate company like Animalcouriers, the scammer makes their own operation seem genuine.
what to look out for
Be wary of anyone offering you an animal, if:
- The price of the animal seems very cheap — too good to be true
- You are offered the animal for free (usually with a sob story attached), and you only have to pay for the transport
- You are offered free transport, but are asked to pay travel insurance for the animal
- You're asked to pay using a money order (like Western Union or MoneyGram), with a payment address that's a PO box or is in Cameroon (any legitimate company would invite you to pay by cheque, credit/debit card or bank transfer)
- You're asked to pay using paysafecard
- There's no phone number for you to call and check arrangements or, if the seller does have a phone number, it starts with 070 (00 44 70) eg 0701, 0702 — these numbers are very expensive to call, usually over 30p per minute.
- The animal is coming from far away or even abroad, so it 'makes sense' to use a courier for the transport which the vendor says they will arrange
- The website or email offering you the animal is written in poor English
- The domain names for the website and the email address don't match
- The web address ends with an unfamiliar code, like .pages.tl, rather than .com or .co.uk
- The contact details are sent from a free email service like googlemail.com
- The contact details in the email and on the website don't match
- You are told of a problem with the transport once the animal is apparently on its way to you, and you have to send more money for the animal to continue its journey, otherwise it will be put to sleep
- The animal will supposedly be delivered by Animalcouriers, but we haven't been in touch with you directly
what you should do if you think it's a scam
We don't want you to fall prey to the scammers so, if you've been promised delivery of puppy, parrot, monkey or other animal by Animalcouriers and you are in any doubt at all about the genuine nature of the offer:
- Don't make any payment
- Contact us immediately
We'll be able to tell you straight away whether anyone has booked us to deliver an animal to you. And if you detect a scam that involves our company name, please let us know, as we want to try and prevent this happening to others. You should also report it to your local police who are working to build up a profile of scammers.
selected media articles and useful links
ActionFraud is the UK's national fraud reporting centre.
This article from the Guardian on scams in general makes some further useful points and tells you about an Office Of Fair Trading campaign to raise awareness:
Scam Watch: OFT launches 'scamnesty' campaign.
This thread on What Consumer describes how paysafecard gets used in scams.