Pet owners warned about microchipping scam
My Family Vets are warning pet owners about a website that is falsely claiming to register pets to a national microchip database.
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has issued a warning about the website, called UK Pet Chip Registry, which is advertised under Google search results for ‘pet microchipping’.
Despite calls from duped pet owners for the website to be taken down, the site remains active and is prominently positioned on Google as a promoted advert.
The service claims that for a charge of £15, it will add the pet's microchip details to the so-called ‘National Pet Microchip Registration Database’. However, that database does not meet UK Government standards and is not on the list of government-endorsed pet databases.
CTSI Lead Officer for Animal Welfare, Steph Young, said: "It is vital that when purchasing a puppy, members of the public must register the chip on one of the 15 databases verified by the UK Government. If they do not, they risk a fine of up to £500.
"The database quoted by UK Pet Chip Registry does not conform to UK Government standards, and signing up to it alone puts the user at risk of a fine and the needless cost of the money used to pay for it. The public should always follow government guidance, not paid-for adverts on search engines."
It’s thought that the bogus registration scheme is targeting the increased number of pet owners who welcomed a four-legged friend into their home during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a legal requirement to register your dog on an authorised database, and failure to do so can result in a £500 fine.
Katherine Hart, a fellow Lead Officer at CTSI, added: "The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a great deal of opportunism and in many cases outright scams. Many people suffer from loneliness during the lockdown, and purchasing a furry companion is an increasingly popular option.
"We are all so much more vulnerable now. The public must be increasingly vigilant, sceptical and above all, check the law and UK Government advice when making these decisions. Ignorance of the law excuses no one - make sure you register your pet on a verified database."
Where can I check the list of authorised pet databases?
Click here to check the list of pet databases authorised by the UK Government. For consumer advice, please call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.
Need more info?
For expert advice on microchipping your pets, get in touch with your local vet. Find your nearest vet using our Find a Vet page.