After recording an increasing number of internet frauds, Action Fraud warns residents of Lincolnshire to be attentive when purchasing pets online.

The national crime reporting centre says it has seen a growth in reports that concern the buying of pets, especially puppies, advertised for sale via popular online auction sites.

Fraudsters will place an ad of the pet for sale, claiming to have recently moved abroad and a need to find a home for the puppies. Once a sale is agreed upon and payment is made from the victim, most commonly by money transfer or bank transfer, the pet does not turn up.

The sellers will usually ask for more advanced payments for courier charges, shipping fees or vet bills.

Action Fraud advises to be wary of paying fees via a Money Service Bureau; Conduct research on other information provided by the seller; Request details of the courier company being used and analyse them; Meet the seller face to face to agree upon the purchase.

If the purchase price is too good to be true, then this is probably evidence that it is.