The heartbreak that comes with a lost pet should not be combined with false hope and a scam. Sadly, fraudsters are now targeting pet owners! Scammers are always on the lookout for ways to exploit the most vulnerable, and pet owners, who are grieving over a beloved family member, can be easy targets.
It starts when a distraught pet owner hangs "missing" posters around the neighborhood or posts online about a lost pet. Then, posing as someone who has found the pet, con artists contact the owner over phone, email, or text. Often they offer to provide photos as evidence.
These scammers have a few tricks up their sleeves. They might operate a tag-team operation: one person calls and asks a series of questions about the pet; the other uses this information to back their claim that they found the same pet.
Another tactic is calling from another area code. This way, scammers can request money to transport the animal home from a faraway location. Though these schemes might be convincing, any evidence provided, including photographs and phone numbers, can easily be doctored and spoofed.
To avoid this scam, be sure to ask plenty of questions make sure the caller's phone number, description of the animal, and account of events checks out, and never wire or send money without verifying the animal is in their custody.