Scammers target pet owners looking for lost animals on social media

Posting on social media is a quick and easy way to get an alert out about a lost pet, but it could also put you at risk for scams.

The Better Business Bureau is tracking reports of a scam that targets people searching for lost cats or dogs. Victims reported getting a text from someone who claimed they found the animal, but the person on the other end would give excuses when they were asked to send a picture. The BBB says the scammers also tried to pressure victims into sending money in exchange for pets.

"If someone is truly trying to help you find your pet they're not going to threaten you or cause you to act quickly. Playing on a sense of fear and emotion is huge with this scam," said Kayla Gilbert, Community Outreach Specialist with the BBB.

Troubleshooter Takeaways

Don't be specific. Limit how much detail you provide if you post about a lost pet online. This can help you verify if someone really found your pet.

Call them back. If you get a call from someone, ask for a number you can use to call them back. Scammers will often spoof numbers to make it appear they are calling from somewhere nearby.

Don't accept excuses. Ask for a picture, if the person claiming they have your animal makes excuses about why they cannot send one, that's a big red flag.
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