Scottish SPCA issue warning to be vigilant as scammers pretend to be from the animal welfare charity

The Scottish SPCA has issued a warning to people to be vigilant after members of the public receive messages from a source pretending to be the animal welfare charity.

Two separate incidents were recorded this month with one person being accused of abusing their dog and another being asked to send money to release their missing cat.

Scottish SPCA chief superintendent, Mike Flynn, said the incidents were very distressing for the people involved and is urging people to be careful.

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The first incident occurred on January 16 in Renfrewshire when an individual received a call from someone claiming to be from the SSPCA.

The caller said their missing cat had been handed into a local vets and asked for a £15 fee to release it back into their care.

Mr Flynn said: “Thankfully the member of the public refused to give them any money and went directly to the vet practice.

“When they enquired the vet practice had no record of the animal and confirmed they had not contacted the SSPCA about any stray cats recently.”

The second incident happened three days later on January 19, when an elderly Duddingston resident received a letter supposedly from the SSPCA claiming they had been seen swinging their dog around by the leash.

Scottish SPCA issue warning to be vigilant as scammers pretend to be from the animal welfare charity

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Mr Flynn continued: “The letter was signed John Bishop and had our Edinburgh Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre’s address and our helpline’s contact number printed at the bottom. The letter advised the member of the public that someone would attend the property to view the dog.

“This is not the process we follow for attending animal welfare concerns and there is no one by the name of John Bishop employed by the Society.”

In a bid to prevent future distressing incidents occurring, the charity is advising people that their inspectors will always be in uniform and able to provide identification badges, with a photo and authorisation.

Scottish SPCA van.

If you are unsure if someone is authentic you should call the SSPCA immediately, all genuine employees will respect this need for confirmation.

If you are contacted via post or any other means you can contact the helpline to find out if the communication is real.

Anyone with information on these incidents, or any similar ones, should contact the SSPCA’s confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.

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