Animal loving New Zealanders are being lured into scams by dreams of fluffy kittens and adorable puppies.
Posts on popular trading websites such as Adpost offer pedigree cats and dogs from within New Zealand at half the usual price. But the animals do not exist and the so-called owners are based in Africa.
The fictitious owners claim to need loving homes for expensive breeds such as Russian blues and chinchillas as well as dogs including pugs and bulldogs. The animals, which normally sell for upwards of $600 are offered for $300, including vaccinations and desexing.
Kim Buchanan from Pets on the Net was contacted by a Christchurch woman who paid to transport a Siberian husky pup before realising it was a scam.
"They say they are at the other end of the country so you have to pay for shipping but, in reality, it is all automated by some gang in Cameroon," Kim said.
Buchanan said scammers posted ads on different websites and claimed to be located throughout New Zealand. "They are ruthless."