Officers are warning people to be wary of online fraudsters purporting to be selling puppies and dogs after a rise in incidents over the past week.
Social media-based selling site Facebook Marketplace and the buying and selling website Gumtree are two places involved in a number of the reports, and officers are warning people that even when paying via bank transfer, they may not get their money back from the bank.
A spokesman for Staffordshire Police said: "Please be vigilant when browsing animals for sale and do everything you can to make sure the adverts are from genuine sellers before parting with any money. If anything arouses suspicion at all or doesn’t seem to quite add up, please, please don’t send them any money."
To report any suspicious sellers, or if you do fall victim to any fraud, please send a direct message to Staffordshire Police on Facebook or Twitter. You can also anonymously contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.