Scam Alert: Watch out for this Lost Pet Text Message Scam

  
     
July 27, 2017

Even though posting a lost pet message on social media sounds like a great idea. However, in reality, it can put you at risk for a scam. Unfortunately, con artists comb social media targeting people who have lost their pets.scam alert

How the Scam Operates:

When you lose your pet, more than likely, you'll turn to social media to alert friends, family and neighbors. You may create either a group or public post to help spread the word. You then share your phone number and other important information.

A few days later, you receive a text message from someone claiming to have found your lost pet. When you ask them to describe the pet, the scammer will give excuses such as being out of town or not having access to a camera. Then, the “finder” ends up pressuring you for money or a gift card to return your pet. Your first instinct is to give them money because you want your pet back, but you must listen to your gut! The scammer does not have your pet; they just want your money.

Follow these tips to prevent getting wrapped up in this scam:

  • Don’t provide too many details via social media. Omit the finer details such as unique physical attributes.
  • Be on the lookout for spoofed numbers.  If you get a call from someone claiming to have your pet, ask them for a phone number where you can call them back.
  • Always ask for a photo.  If someone claims to have your pet, ask them to send you a photo. If the person gets defensive or makes up an excuse, you know it’s a scam.
  • Never wire money or use a prepaid debit card to pay anyone you don’t know. The same goes for sending money.
  • Microchip and ID tag your pet. Consider having your vet microchip your pet or make sure they wear an ID tag.

To learn more about scams, go to BBB Scam Tips (bbb.org/scamtips). To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker (bbb.org/scamtracker/upstatesc/)