Disgusting New Scam Targets Pet Owners

Disgusting New Scam Targets Pet Owners

(NationRise.com) – The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is warning pet owners of a new scam targeting owners of lost pets.

The scam is simple: scammers call the number listed on “lost pet” posters or online posts, tell them the pet is severely injured, and then ask for enough money to cover an immediate visit to the vet. Some also add the touch of pretending to work with an animal shelter.

The SPCA of Buffalo, NY, has reported an incident in which a frantic pet owner visited their office searching for her missing cat. She told workers that someone claiming to be from another shelter said her cat had been found but was severely injured and needed immediate surgery. She was suspicious and never sent the money.

Jillian LeBlan, a coordinator for Erie County’s SPCA chapter, warned that their shelters (and most others) will never ask pet owners to send cash via an app. Unfortunately, many pet owners are too distraught to question the legitimacy of the call. The scammers manipulate their feelings while invoking a sense of urgency to save their pets.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is also warning consumers about the scam. They’ve also warned about a similar, but more dubious, scam: taking pets hostage. Scammers who find pets pictured in posters (or any that look similar) will call the number and demand money in exchange for its safe return. Otherwise, some claim they’ll sell the animal to another person. However, this scam poses greater risks for the perpetrator and is less common.

The BBB offers several recommendations to avoid falling victim to the scam. First, they say you should keep the missing pet’s physical description limited. Of course, that can be challenging if you want to ensure that you get your own pet back.

They also recommend asking for a callback number. Most scammers use fake phone numbers that can’t be traced or called back. However, it is possible to reuse some numbers, which is why the BBB also recommends asking for a photo. Most legitimate callers will provide a picture before they’re asked. If they offer an excuse instead, it’s likely a scam.

Also, monitor online listings offering pets for sale. Call the police if you see your missing pet is listed.

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