21
- April
2017
Posted By : Clayton G.
Recognizing and Avoiding the Lost Pet Scam

Updated ongoing scams on December 16, 2019

Recognizing and Avoiding the Lost Pet Scam

NEW SCAM ALERT: There is a scam going around beginning December 2019. This person will text and say they found your pet, but will not provide photos or detailed information. They will say they need you to send them a Google verification code or a scam checker code in order to prove you are the owner. DO NOT send them this code as this a scam. They are attempting to hack into your Google account.


If you are searching for your lost pet, the best thing you can do is spread the word to as many people as possible. Unfortunately, this may sometimes attract unscrupulous scammers looking to profit off your desperate situation.

Please read the following information to protect yourself from becoming a victim.

Found a pet? Scroll down for tips on avoiding the found pet scam.

Recognizing the Lost Pet Scam

1. They demand you wire them money first. They may request payment by Western Union, Money Gram, cashier’s check, money order, escrow service, Bitcoin, etc. You can safely assume that anyone who asks you to pay them in this manner (in this context) is a scammer.

2. They won’t meet in person. They pretend to be unable or refuse to meet you face-to-face before initiating the transaction.

3. They will meet, but find an excuse why you should pay them before actually seeing the animal. They may offer to meet you at a public location to return your pet and collect the reward you have offered. When you get there, they may tell you your pet is in their car and will go get him for you as soon as you pay the reward. Once they have the money, they will disappear.

Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to see an up-to-date list of scams.

Example of a Scam:

Reported on January 5, 2017: Beware of vague, generic messages from people claiming to have found your pet. The above message came from a real scammer.

Tips to Avoid Being Scammed

1. Never wire money to anyone you don’t know or haven’t met.

 Beware if someone asks you to wire them money before retrieving your pet. Photo credit: WikiVisual

Beware if someone asks you to wire them money before retrieving your pet. Photo Credit: WikiVisual

2. Don’t ask leading questions. If someone claims to have found your pet, don’t ask leading questions like ‘Does he have white socks on his front paws?’ Instead, make them provide the description. Ask the person to describe something about your pet that wouldn’t be visible in pictures that may have been posted. If the person fails to come up with an identifying physical attribute, it is likely they are attempting to scam you.

 If the person really has your pet, they should be able to describe identifying physical attributes without your help.   Photo credit: Pexels
If the person really has your pet, they should be able to describe identifying physical attributes without your help.   Photo Credit: Pexels

3. Meet in a public place. If you are absolutely confident this person has your pet, arrange to make the exchange in person and in a public place. Do not attempt to send them money before meeting and reclaiming your loved one.

Losing a pet is a traumatic experience. Don’t make things even more difficult by falling victim to a lost pet scam. Always be safe, be alert, and don’t give up hope!

Found a pet? Beware of this cruel scam

While people with lost pets may be more likely to become the victim of a scam, people who have found a pet can also be a target. A scammer may contact you pretending to be the owner of the pet you found. In reality, they are trying to dupe you into giving them the pet so they can sell it for a profit.

 Some pets, especially purebreds, are sought out by scammers to be illegally sold for a profit. It is up to you to verify proof of ownership before giving up your found pet. Photo credit: Pexels
Some pets, especially purebreds, are sought out by scammers to be illegally sold for a profit. It is up to you to verify proof of ownership before giving up your found pet. Photo Credit: Pexels

If someone contacts you claiming to be the pet’s owner, you must verify their claim before handing the pet back to them. Vet records, ownership or breeding papers, and even family photos are all viable ways to prove ownership. If the person is unable to produce any of these, it is likely they are attempting to pull off a scam.

If you are contacted by the owner of the pet you found and are able to verify proof of ownership, that is amazing news! It is always best to play it safe by arranging to meet in a public place to give them back their furry family member.

 Reuniting a pet with her family is one of the best feelings in the world. Photo credit: Pexels
Reuniting a pet with her family is one of the best feelings in the world. Photo Credit: Pexels

Ongoing Scams

1. Reported on December 15, 2019

Be wary of text messages claiming someone has your pet, but needs payment upfront through a Steam card. There have been reports that the scammer is using the same number (779) 548-5819 to send these texts to various owners.

2. Reported on May 5, 2019

This is the scam as reported by Google:

Beware of scammers trying to gain access to your Google account by pretending to have your pet. This scammer was using a throwaway (burner) phone number.

3. Reported on December 11, 2018 (Updated on April 8, 2019):

Beware of messages notifying you that a distant relative has passed and you are the benefactor of an outrageous amount of money. They just want to steal your personal information.

Update Reported on April 8, 2019:

This shorter email is being sent from ‘Edward Harrison’ trying to get you to reply that is associated with the email reported on December 11, 2018. Email is being sent from: info.lawyerclaudelaurent@gmail.com    |    info.lawyerfrankkomi@gmail.com    |    bankatlantic.ns@yahoo.com    |    info.lawyerdavideric@yahoo.com    |    marygeorge003@yahoo.com    |    schoolboy983@gmail.com    |    edwardharrison003@gmail.com    |    misshelenbrown08@gmail.com    |    samsononyedikachiobasi@gmail.com

4. Reported on April 4, 2019:

Beware of messages claiming to come from the CIA and demanding you send money through Bitcoin. This email is coming from multiple emails similar to the following:

svaleriabouchard@uizk.cia-us-govn.gq    |    brenda_stanford@ueim.cia-gov-it.tk    |    viwalling@uimd.cia-gov-int.ml    |    alverabelanger@hxbg.cia-gov-int.ml

5. Reported on March 8, 2019:

Someone is texting PawBoost users claiming they have their pet and will demand for money/Amazon gift cards. They won’t send pictures of the pet, but claim to have it. If someone says they’re from PawBoost asking for money this is scam. Please be careful!

6. Reported on January 18, 2019:

Beware of threatening messages demanding you to send money through Bitcoin. The sender is using various emails with “anonymous” in the domain of the email address.

Ex. carol642@a.aanonymous.cf   |    isidro-293@e.aanonymous.gq    |    larue811@d.an0nym0u5hacker.ga   |    vivian547@f.anonym0u5-hacked.cf

7. Reported on January 11, 2019:

Beware of suspicious charity fund messages from overseas. The sender is using the email petersavy505@gmail.com.

8. Reported on January 11, 2019:

Beware of spam messages regarding business deals. The sender is using the email info@wholesale.com.

9. Reported on December 20, 2018:

Beware of weird emails talking about investments. There are about 50 variations of this message that are being sent from info@finance.com.

10. Reported on December 18, 2018:

Beware of messages asking for you to contact them in order to send you an outrageous amount of money. The sender is using the email alexdiegu@yahoo.co.uk.

11. Reported on December 5, 2018:

Beware of messages asking for your personal information in order to send you an outrageous amount of money.

12. Reported on November 29, 2018:

Beware of messages offering generous amounts of money with a fishy sob story. The sender is using the email tinachima61@gmail.com with different variations of numbers after ‘tinachima.’

13. Reported on November 20, 2018:

Beware of messages regarding compensation for a previous business transaction. Do not be fooled by the outrageous amount of money via an ATM card, this is meant to entice you to get your personal information. The sender is using similar email addresses: lisamuna77@yahoo.com; lisamuna10@yahoo.com; lisamuna444@yahoo.com; lisamuna213@yahoo.com.

14. Reported on May 23, 2018:

Beware of the Bitcoin scam. The scammer will demand money via Bitcoin to return your pet.

15. Reported on August 10, 2017:

Beware of messages requesting your help to transfer outrageous amounts of money. Variations of this email are being sent around wanting to get your personal information.

16. Reported on January 5, 2017:

Beware of vague, generic messages from people claiming to have found your pet. The above message came from a real scammer.

You can help prevent others from becoming victims by reporting scams like these to support@pawboost.com. If it seems suspicious, it probably is.

Comments

  • Perfectpaperstyping

    June 8, 2017 at 12:03 AM

    Has anyone ever encountered that they found your pet and if you don’t pay, they will kill your fur baby? That would rip our hearts out. Nothing has happened, but just asking.

    • My dog has been missing for over 6 mos and got a 3:30 am ransom call w ph number (altough called from restricted number) demading $5k or would blow a bullet up his a$$…along w lots of f bombs. Reportrd number to police afyer I traced it to a neighborhood we canvasded heavily.

      • How did you trace the number before you called police?

        • You can google it get websites with names and addresses of people who have had that number.
          But I’d make the police report first. They have much better software than we do.
          After that you can research the number and contact the police if you think you’ve found something important.

          • Omg I just had this happen to me yesterday omg what do I do if I sent them code just the code ? I have already called my bank and told them what has happened and sent screen shots of Text messages people are so Disturbed these days and times please let me know what y’all all did ?

          • We are actively investigating this scam to help prevent it for the future. Please see this link if the code was provided to the scammer: https://support.google.com/voice/thread/1035901?hl=en – The PawBoost Team

      • I lost my dog today and I have been crying and someone tried to scam me by saying give me 10 grand or your dog will be slaughtered in half so I contacted the police but nothin happened and she is still missing I lost her 10-12-19

        • People are seriously so shi**y. They’ll do anything to make a quick $$. They’ll get that bad karma bad ten fold don’t you worry it always bites them in the a$$. And I hope you find your pet. My little girl(well she’s an old little girl ahah ) has been missing since 6/6/19 and I still can’t loose hope. Sending positive vibes and thoughts And prayers for you and your loved ones. ✌🏻💙💜🙃

    • My mom has received heartbreaking calls and texts like that from a person about her pet. Told her she had to pay $2k to get her dog back or else they would kill him.

      People are heartless assholes.

    • Yes …That happened to me …this man cropped my dog diesal picture and wanted me to send him 250 dollars are he was going to eat my child dog for dinner…but my daughter got wise and told him …it was on f.b …He started cussing her every thing under the book ….so sad

    • It’s heart breaking!! As soon as I put my cat lost on Craigslist, I got a txt from someone. It said “I got your cat,is your post for real? Then another one came it read” there’s a 5 digit number code on txt for me to txt it back,they would call me about my cat. I did it but it wanted a charge,my service denied the request, of course they never called. I’m still looking for him, Every day gets sadder and sadder.I know he’s looking for me like I’m looking for him.

      • Hi this happened to me they wanted a code same exact thing I figured they were lying but also figured it couldn’t hurt since they only had my phone number? I gave them the code (I know stupid) obviously they didn’t get back to me. What did they try to do after you gave them the code?

      • 🙁 i feel the same exact way…like my kitty is looking for me like i am loiking for her 🙁 its been just iver a week now…shes never been outside before this and its been so cold 🙁

        • I know this is really late but I just saw your post and just want to make sure everybody knows about these Pet Amber Alerts that you can get .where they’ll put out an amber alert throughout your neighborhood for your loss pet.
          I really hope you found your kitty.

      • This happened to me too last week, someone texted and said they had my cat but to make sure I wasn’t a scammer (!) they sent me a verification code via Google Voice and wanted me to send them the code that was generated. I asked them for a photo of the cat they found and told them I didn’t have a Google account-I never heard back from them. I immediately Googled this scam and sure enough Google are having a lot of this happen where people set up Google Voice using other people’s account credentials. There is a Google support thread about it here: https://support.google.com/voice/thread/845902?hl=en
        This is so cruel preying on people who have lost their pets.

      • Yep, same thing happened to both myself and my fiancé (possibly from Craigslist). We are still looking for our baby kitty and we were so excited to hear that someone found her. But it was a scammer. He’s had about 3 more contact him since. They wanted us to relay a Google Voice verification code and continued to harass us for it after we realized it was a hoax and had stopped responding. It’s particularly disgusting and low to attempt to scam people who are vulnerable and hurting over a loss.

      • I know this post is old and I am hoping you found your cat by now and he/she is home safe and sound, but for future reference, I would not post ANYTHING about pets. especially cats, kittens, puppies, or other small animals on Craigslist. Scammers who work for dog fighting rings answer ads on Craigslist trying to get hold of them to use as “bait” animals. :/ They have their girlfriends do it a lot of the time because they think a woman will seem less suspect especially if the girl puts on a sweet act.

    • What do I do if I actually fell for these scams??

    • I had just re-posted on Pawboost that our beloved Seamus as still missing. Not 10 minutes later I get a text; I”I have Seamus.” Oh my gosh… my adrenaline shot up, my heavy heart started to beat faster, I can’t believe it, I’m thinking. Then the text says how do I know you are the owner. I didn’t really think twice; he is a good breed of cat, so maybe the person texting was just cautious.
      I stated I will send you a pic of me and Seamus.
      Next thing I know I get a text with a Google voice verification code. I thought, weird, I didn’t do anything to have that sent to me. Then texter says I need to send him that 6digit code to verify it’s me.
      Well at that point I knew it wasn’t right. My Son took over from there.
      So be careful my friends and be aware, use your common sense. I know it’s hard when all you want is your baby to come home.
      That’s What I know.
      Laura

  • Thank you for your in put it has been helpful. No I still haven’t found my cat.and I’m very sad.

    • Do you live in Utah? I have found a orange and white furry cat I don’t know if it’s yours but good luck!!

    • One thing you should do to find your cat is this: There is a great site called missingpetpartnership.org (they are not a scam.) They base their suggestions of finding a lost pet by animal behavior. Our cat was “lost” but we found her due to their free tips on cat behavior. For instance, a cat likes to explore, is usually within a three-to-five-house radius of home, and they usually get themselves trapped, which prevents them from coming home. For instance, our cat Foxy was trapped in a high-walled courtyard just 50 yards from the back of our house. The woman who’d lived there was in assisted living. Missingpetpartnership,org is legitmate and has given tons of advice on how to find cats and dogs dure to their behavior. So go check them out. Their tips are free.

  • Another helpful tip: Get the address for the person claiming to have found your pet. Plano ordinance is anyone who has found a pet has to report to the animal shelter within 24-48 hours.

  • Enjoied the article
    When reuniting with the owner ask to See Drivers license. .Registration. ..
    Get some mail that corresponds with matching name of person LEGIT ID..
    always ask for fam photos of dog ….Vet.info ect..
    And get 3 active phone numbers from their family /workers ect and call the numbers while they are standing there…?

  • I worry that posting missing pets is what bad people wait for, then go to the area scout them, find them and steal them for their own use. I truly hate the thought because animals are my life. I just worry about that. Tracking collars might be best for some especially if they are free to roam. Many of our loved ones have been found by posting but many have not. So many bad people out there. Just watch your babies.

    • Collars can also be a danger though. I know someone whose dog got killed because her collar got caught on something and it strangled her. I also once read a story of a woman whose cat had a bell on her collar and was being chased by a dog and every time she got out of the dog’s reach, the bell let the dog know where she was. I don’t think the cat survived… So be careful with collars too, everyone. And avoid bells. If you do decide to use a collar and it has a bell on it, remove the bell before you put it on your pet.

  • When You Meet The Scammer, After You See & Get Your Baby….
    Pay Them Their Reward and Break Both Of Their Kneecaps With a ‘Louisville Slugger"!
    Be Sure To Thank Them For The ‘Rescue’ They Provided.

  • I am trying to figure out why suddenly we have so many homeless animals. Obviously they came from some place and many are families of cats. Suddenly baby cats have come up to me when I am outside gardening. So I bring the 4 week kittens in and the mother shows up. I realize she was the cat that was to be rescued by someone claiming to have a grant to trap and release. Then they never showed up and the cat had disappeared. I checked with my local animal rescue and then the cat showed up. I have no idea what is going on here. I ended up with 4 kittens and found a new friend that had a similar story and a cat organization in our county says they want these kittens to get them homes. Sounds good but I am worried they will be sold to Squibb or Rutgers pharmacy college, etc. for experiments. I have worked in that industry. How do we know if we are helping animals get a home or sending it to a terrible short life? Meanwhile, I would like to know why there are so many adult cats suddenly with no home and living under cars here? My goal now is to encourage them in winter to stay in the barn garage and to hopefully get them to trust humans so they could go to SAVE or some other organization in the spring to perhaps find a new home. Not sure this is realistic but evidently humans have abandoned these animals. I was raised with a mother that encouraged us to rescue animals and in the 50’s in California where we lived, huge migration of people into the state (after WWII) brought dozens of homeless animals. dogs were constantly abandoned. We worked very hard to get homes for these animal. I have rescued dogs from organizations here in NJ and have had people in this town where I bought my first home leave dozens of cats in the garage. One SPCA helped me with this ordeal and we did get homes but we also had a terrible ordeal with FIP. I hesitate to count on organizations that contact my friend about placing her cats and she thinks I should give kittens to them. My only idea is to contact the SPCA or SAVE to see if these organizations really do get homes for animals. Meanwhile, outrageous to see 12 abandoned adult cats and their offspring living under cars or junk piles where I live and the capture and release people never showed up and said they had a grant but somehow I ended up saying I could give them $50 a month to fix the female adult cats. I guess that was not enough. So glad they never showed up so beware of these people.

    • There are places that have a TNR program and spay/neuter for around $30 per cat. My friend helps with the one.

    • There are people like myself who trap feral cats, fix them, too their ear and then re release them where I found them. I do this also under a grant. If I can get the kittens young enough to take, I try to find them homes. Don’t trust SPCA! They are the ones who will kill them. Just an fyi

    • God bless you for being who you are. That compassion and evident respect and love for life is refreshing.

  • Are pictures really a legitimate way to verify ownership.
    I too have taken pictures of the pet.
    What are the legal requirements if there are any.
    I wonder because the dog I found is a pedigree, trained in obedience, and would not go in the car with the one who claimed him.
    She had pictures, but so did I.

    If we are a pet finder, can we legally demand proof and what kind of proof is legal?
    If microchipped, how can we trace birth papers.

    • If the cat does NOT have a microchip, you can smoke out any scammers by asking them what the microchip # is. You could say there is a chip but it was apparently out of date as it was registered to someone else with a defunct phone # and they couldn’t be located — this actually happened with a cat someone I knew found, so it’s a realistic scenario.

      The true owner would know there is no chip, and a scammer would probably back off automatically, because they wouldn’t know the (non-existent) chip #. Or they would make something up and you’d know they were lying.

    • Yes. Ask for Dl, Registration to car, Car insurance, and match names with addresses. Then ask for 3 phone numbers that can verify the info he or she has said. Call in front of them. If it is their furbaby then they will be happy you did that. When they contact you let them know you want to see as many family pics with the furbaby as they can bring. One or two pics tell them to go home. Don’t give to much info. Make sure you find something that only the owner would know about the furbaby. Example. A scar, where is the scar. Extra toe, finger. But don’t directly ask. Just say can you tell me something about the animal that know one else would know except the owner. I always find something unique. A lady tried this just recently with me. She even used her child to help steal a cat. Photo shop picture, and not one picture of the furbaby with the child who loved the cat so much. No family photos. Animal lovers always take pictures of their babies. I screamed at this woman all the way to her car, and then followed her to the store. I was trying to follower her home, but she wouldn’t go home. After A couple hours I went home. She did not get the cat. Yes bad people, but I believe there is more good people then bad.

      • At this point I think I would call the police if you’re demanding all this from me before returning my dog. Confirming owenership
        Has nothing to do with my car insurance and registration and For all anyone knows you could be a scammer asking for personal info. This is a bit invasive, and if you have my dog while asking for this, there would be a very big problem.

      • Lost my dog that day

    • My cat went missing in November 2017, very friendly and affectionate and never strayed from home. One day he didn’t come back. I’ve been searching for him everyday since then. Been to countless rescues, local SPCA, people’s houses who thought they may have found him..
      The one day I was checking in at my local SPCA (where they also have had my cat in their missing file since the day he went missing) and I was looking into a cat that someone told me they thought may have been him.. while inquiring about this cat I found out he was too sick and had to be euthanized. I was so upset and started crying and this lady who is the head of whatever she does, walked behind the lady who was giving me this information from their system and she got so nasty and told me “matter of factly” that their was no way this was my cat because the cat was older. All I did was ask if she was sure and she got mad and said YES, THE AGE IS DETERMINED BY TEETH, AND OUR VET PLACED THIS CAT AT 8YEARS OF AGE. She then went on to tell me that with my boy being young friendly and nuetered, someone probably took him in and he would most likely get out once the weather got nice and make his way back home.
      2 months ago, the first nice day we had, a cat meeting his description turned up right on the next street (almost the same address as mine) after I seen the post on FB I contacted the person who found the cat but was sad to find out that she took the cat to the SPCA and instead of them contacting me they told her to return the cat back outside because it was someone’s indoor/outdoor and would go back home.
      2 weeks later the same lady found the cat again and contacted me. Her neighbor that lived directly across from her was claiming it was their cat and he was 6yrs old, then said 7yrs then changed it too 8yrs.. My cat would of just turned 3years old when this cat was found.
      We sent pictures to a personal vet of the teeth and eyes and the vet said the cat was around 3-4 years of age, definitely not any older.
      I then picked the cat up and brought him back home and then took the cat into the SPCA to be examined and get an age check and proof so they couldn’t continue to say it was their cat. The SPCA’s veterinary placed the cat at 3 to 4 years of age and I left there and brought my cat home.
      The same lady who works there and told me that they determine age by dental and was adamant before, called me an hour after I got home demanding I return the cat back to the SPCA because it wasn’t my cat.. I took him back along with his vet papers from when he got nuetered and got his shots, that stated his age… But because I didn’t have any recent pictures of my cat, they gave my cat back to these people who I believe stole him to begin with.
      They also had no other pictures whatsoever of this cat that they were claiming to have since a kitten, but I did. Their vet papers also put the cat at 8years of age where as mine put the cat at 3years, as did two different vet’s.
      So now I don’t have my cat.

    • A pedigreed dog will have a vet. Ask for the vet’s contact information. If possible take the pet in question to the vet to see if they really know the animal there.

      • Do not assume that mixed breed dog owners do not take their dogs to the vet. I have always rescued my dogs and they are all mixed breeds. I have given them the best of vet care spending $25K on two of them over the course of their 15 year lives.

  • Thank you so much for this valuable information!!!!!

  • i told the scammer to send me a photo of the pet his sister took to another city to prove its my cat… he said ik well.. sorry its not the same cat. Photo of the lost pet is proof hes mine. ill know my cats features.

    sad someone is so scummy to try this when youre already heartbroken.

    • I found my pet and I asked them to call me so we can meet . They have yet to respond. I sent them three photos with me holding him and my wife when he was pup. Facebook stopped the post and they still haven’t responded. I just want my dog back.

  • Ty for the advice

  • I appreciate all the advise you share. Someone tried to scam me as well. They tried to get me to send money before I could see my dog. They didn’t have my dog they wanted to scam me. I feel for everyone that has lost their fur baby. I never lost faith and knew my dog was coming home. I am grateful for your site and all the other sites out there. It’s a great way to get the attention needed to help to reunite our little ones. I found my dog after 3 months and I hear stories have people finding their babies after years. All I can say is keep the faith and don’t give up hope. Stay away from the scammers.

  • Cat has been outside my house for about the past week. Could be someone’s cat that goes outside within the neighborhood but no collar & looks thin.. figured it would be best to check if anyone knows she is missing. Location: Conodoguinet Avenue, Carlisle, Pa. Orange & white cat.

    • Barbara Kingsbury

      June 4, 2018 at 3:13 PM

      Hi, you need to post photos and Found info on this site, under Found, not in the blog section. And all the other places mentioned by Jennifer Siegel.

  • Facebook groups, shelters, your neighborhood, vet hospitals, and vets around your area.

  • Someone sent us text message today, that he has our dog, he wants $1000 sent it to bitcoin account or else he is going to sell our dog. The number is from California its like 2000 miles away from us. So we text back “to send us a picture”.

    • I also received a similar text this morning regarding my missing cat with the same type bitcoin ransom request. He asked for $400 or will sell him to somebody else. He or she said they bought a $20 throw away phone and to not bother calling the police. Sick people out there taking advantage of the broken hearted!

  • Same here. Send 400.00 to Bitcoin. My cat escaped last night at 8pm. 8am this morning I got the ransom text.

  • I UNDERSTAND ALL OF THAT EXCEPT FOR THIS PERSON SENT ME A PICTURE OF MY DOG IN A MOTEL ROOM. THIS IS A PICTURE THAT I DIDN’T POSSESS NOR DID ANYONE ELSE WHO KNOW “BODIE”. THIS IS THE PROOF THAT THEY DO HAVE BODIE.! THE THING IS THAT THEY WANT TO COLLECT $800 RANSOM, PER SE’ AND KEEP MY DOG FOR THEMSELVES? TO STUD OUT? TO SELL TO SOMEONE ELSE FOR PROFIT? OR TO MAKE HIM MEAN AND USE HIM FOR DOGFIGHTING? THE SCAM ISN’T THAT THEY LIED ABOUT HAVING MY DOG, THE SCAM IS THAT THEY WANT THEIR “CAKE AND EAT IT TOO”. SOMEBODY KNOWS WHERE MY DOG IS, IS GUILTY OF AIDING AND ABETTING AND MY FEAR IS THAT THEY WILL KEEP DOING THIS TO OTHER PEOPLE AS A WAY TO MAKE MONEY INSTEAD OF GETTING A REAL JOB AND WORKING LIKE THE REST OF THE GOOD PEOPLE OF THE WORLD, SO WHAT DO I DO NOW?????THEY KIDNAPPED MY BODIE! THAT’S A FACT! THEY HAVE MY BODIE. THAT’S A FACT. THEY TRIED TO EXTORT MONEY FROM ME WITH EVERY INTENTION OF KEEPING MY BODIE. .. AND THEY ARE AMONG THE GROUP OF PEOPLE THAT TRULY DO LOVE ANIMALS AND HELP TO LOCATE THEM NOT USE THEM FOR PROFIT.

  • Thanks for this article, I wasn’t aware before.

  • Thank you for the warnings! I have a much better idea how to proceed with identifying owners of found pets now And the knowledge that there are terrible scammers out there so the steps must be taken to ask for the drivers license, registration, car insurance and corresponding addresses and family photos . Thank you so much.

  • This is terrible, I can’t believe the evil links people will go to! Thank you very much for the heads up! I really appreciate it.

  • My concern is scammers trying to take the animal to sell to a research lab or feed to a reptile. That’s why I loathe “free to good home” ads. It makes sense that rescue agencies require an adoption fee. It tends to discourage those types, as well as help to fund the agency. I have a lost cat right now that I am trying to match to a home. I do not want any money but if someone comes along whose motives I doubt, I may ask for some just to make sure they are sincere.

  • Hey guys. There is a lady on the site claiming to have lost her dog. I found a dog yesterday and posted it on the fb site and she contacted me today (late the afternoon) saying that it was her dog. She told me the dog’s name and said she wanted to pick him up. I ask for proof like pictures and stuff. She sent me three different photos. Two were of an obvious puppy pic of the same kind of dog and the other one is of a pic that she uploaded from Google. Her fb page looked like a spam page with no info, pictures, or post. She told me this bogus story that does not make sense at all. Things just didn’t add up. So I told her I would call her back. Now I get on this webpage and find two different Lost Dog Post from her claiming to have lost the dog in two totally different parts of town. Neither which are anywhere close to me (which she told me she was in this area when she lost him). The pictures are totally different and I believe the dates lost are different. Here is the ID number for one of the pages PET ID:5189897. The other one is PET ID:5183954. BTW the dog I have does not answer to the name at all.

    • We are missing our for baby her name is whisper, she’s an almost all white pit bull with a few black spots on her back and she is deaf, is this the dog you found??

      • A lot of white pitties are deaf. My daughter found one walking along a country road not far from our vet’s office. She brought her home and we posted that we’d found a lost dog. Got no response right away but took the post down when we realized she acted like she had been abused. She flinched when we would raise our hands to pet her on the head or made a sudden move around her. Months later my daughter was at a friend’s house who had another friend to drop by while she was there. The drop in dude started saying he had a white pittie who ran away a few months earlier but that she wouldn’t listen to him so he couldn’t train her and he was going to get rid of her anyway. My daughter said not a word. The idiot had her from a puppy and never figured out she was deaf so he beat her for not obeying him. It took us about two hours to realize she was deaf. It took my daughter about 30 seconds to pick her up off the middle of the road and give her a beautiful new life. God helps animals who need Him.

  • I genuinely am a concerned pet owner…I posted pics of her on fb around November/December 2017. Lots of feedback but people were asking for her. Of course she’s part of my family now. I know they probably were devastated. I’m more concerned about her safe return if they still want her. I’ve reached out to the owner but believe she may have blocked my number. I’m far more concerned about keeping her safe than the reward. Help me to identify her please…but I’m pretty sure this is her. I’m I’ll and about to start a battery of surgeries. This lil brown beauty captured my heart

  • They would messing with the wrong Mom I have the police backing me up

  • Chubbs:
    I am with you – my cat went missing on Sept., 17th, and his posters are everywhere, he’s listed on several sites, etc. If someone called me to say they had him, I’d call the police for an escort – they will actually do this if you are afraid of meeting a stranger.

    • Stephanie, we lost our cat a couple of years ago. But we learned something about cat behavior from a good site called missingpetpartnership.org.

      This is important. Cats don’t generally go beyond a three-to-five-house radius of home, and if they don’t come back, they’re usually TRAPPED somewhere. Our cat Foxy was trapped in a high-walled courtyard, not 15 yards from the back of our house. (The woman who’d lived there was in assisted living at the time). There’s a good site that’s also on Facebook called Missingpetpartnership.org. They base their searches on dogs and cats based on animal behavior. So think CLOSE, and think TRAPPED–a store room, a high-walled yard, a small place in one of your neighbors’s yards. Ask them to accompany you as you look through their yard. We got Foxy back that day, thanks to those tips.

      • I found a poor, nearly starved dog on Nov2nd, I was able to get him into the house after feeding him outside for a few hours. The dog was scared and in dire need of food. I cared for him, posted here and on other sites along with taking him to the Vet for shots and care, which included antibiotics for a skin infection. I received a text saying “You have my dog and saw your number and notice on our developement website”, which I ignored. then received a call saying “I am calling to get my dog”, we spoke for a few minutes and asked about the dog, he said he lost him on Nov 1 and he is that skinny because he ran all day, which is a lie, sent pics which resembled but did not look like the dog i had. Not once did he sound like a kind person, he text me several times tellign me how nice of a man he is but never once asking about the dog, how he was doing, he was worried, etc, so I was concerned for the dogs well being and felt it was a scam. He didnt even know his age or birthdate of the dog, only said between 2 1/2 and 3 years old. This is sad and honestly we need to care for the pets and be their voice in situations like this.

  • That’s true ppl r that way

  • I have a lost dog of 4 months! Rewards bring out crazy, Craigslist brings out crazies! I have been called all hours of night “I found your dog” can’t show photos I tell them to call me when you get access to camera! Even took police to meet one lady I did not trust. Someone has him! I will keep looking! @bringelkie back home.

  • Sheray Childers

    May 2, 2019 at 6:16 PM

    Thank you but I actually called the shelter. It is the VA Beach animal shelters someone took him there yesterday. He has been missing for 4 day. I’m just trying to bring my puppy back home to his family.
    Thank you
    Sheray Childers

  • Get the police to search the scammer’s house.

  • I had no more posted a found ad on our local Craig’s List today when I got a notification that someone responded. They just said email me and gave an email address. I just felt like I should not send any response what so ever to the post. If it had been there dog, how lucky would it be that they would see my post 5 minutes after putting it up. And then email me and not say a word about the dog. I would rather take my chances and keep both me and the dog safe

  • I was told that he had my cat and that he needed proof that I was a legitimate listing. Said he would send a text that would generate a Craigslist verification code. I replied with the code, which apparently allowed him to use my number to set up some kind of account. I’ve notified Craigslist.

  • Thank you I desperately want my cat back! I am aware of the the scams.
    But thanks for letting me know that you care enough to warn people, there are good people in the world but also A lot of people that just want to take advantage of us good people if I get a scammer I will let you know and take them down!

  • I think I’ve received just about every single one of those scams, in one variation or another. Some are just too ridiculous to believe, but others are pretty slick about it. Kind of ruins your faith in your fellow human beings, doesn’t it?

  • I found a Bengal/Bengal mix cat. He’s really a great kitty, very adoptable, but I can’t keep him (2 other, older, not-in-such-good-health cats already). Advertised this “found cat” on Craig’s List and many other places to locate owner, which he surely has. Got a response right away from someone who says he will foster or adopt, but who doesn’t live nearby and has never met the cat, so I’m suspicious. Shelters around here are full or have a months’-long waiting list. I’m holding off looking for his real owners, but how do I “vet” prospective adopters if the owner never shows? Poor thing is living in a crate here in the house!

    • Jan, call a local cat Rescue group immediately, they could find a home pretty easily for a cat like that. Don’t keep him living in the crate, that could permamently traumatize him and make him aggressive or unsocial. And, most of all, don’t give it to anyone who says “it’s theirs”. It’s better to give to a Rescue group who will help find the Owners. Scammers will unlikely stay far away from Rescue groups in fear of being caught.

  • and p.s. Never post a lost animal or found animal on Craigs List. That’s where most of the scammers prey. Rescue Group is your safest bet.

  • Just got the text that someone has my cat and need to send me a code to ensure I am real. Called the number and it is a text only option. They refuse to call me and just want to send me a code to ensure I am real. Thanks to this site I realize this is not a real find but it breaks my heart. I sent them a text back that they are cruel and if they are any semblance of a kind human and care about the poor cat they can call me and how dare they prey on people at this emotional time. The number was 661-239-8902. They did not respond back.

  • My dog was posted on Facebook and paw boost so I get a text yesterday saying they found my dog I had my hopes up when I asked where they said she is with me now then I tried calling the number and it was a text me app phone number then I receive a text today saying they work in a vet is he micro chipped I never responded

  • When you post about your lost pet, please write, “I know all the scams so don’t bother trying to scam me. If you have found or seen my pet, please call 999-999-9999. No texting as this is my landline.” It helps eliminate most of the scammers.

    If you found a pet and someone calls saying the pet is theirs, ask open ended questions.

    1) If the pet has no collar, ask “what color was its collar?” If the person says blue, then you know it’s not the owner. Do not say, “Oh he wasn’t wearing one” because they will just call back from a different number and say the pet wasn’t wearing one. If the person says he wasn’t wearing one, then this person MIGHT BE the owner.

    2) If the pet was solid black, ask “can you tell me the shape of his unique marking?” If the person says he has a round spot on his rump, then you know it’s not the owner. If the person says he was solid black, then this person MIGHT BE the owner.

    3) If the pet has an black heart mark on it’s neck, ask “can you tell me the shape of his unique marking?” If the person says, he has a heart, ask the color and location of the marking. If everything matches, then this person MIGHT BE the owner.

    4) Ask what sex the pet is and if male, is he neutered? Ask what breed? Ask size of dog? Color? I had a dog who had a pattern of nail colors… from left to right on the front paws… black, black, white, white, black dewclaw, black dewclaw, black, white, white, white. NOBODY would know this unless they were the true and real owner.

    DO NOT OFFER ANY INFO ABOUT THE PET!!! It’s all about letting THEM tell you about the pet. Do not offer information

    Now, if you think you have the right owner, ask them which vet they go to and tell them you will meet them there. This is a good idea for two reasons. First, you can have the pet scanned for a microchip while there. Second, the staff will most likely recognize the pet and the owner,… if not, they can look up their account. If they say they don’t have a vet for whatever reason, then tell them you will meet them at the police station with their pet. This is a sure fire way to weed out someone who is not the real owner. since police stations are under 24 hour video surveillance. The most important piece of advice I can give is to NEVER EVER MEET SOMEONE ALONE!

  • So this scammer hit me up early Sunday morning text reading “I get your dog, contact me soon.” So I tried calling them 15 minutes after they had sent this text to me (that’s when I noticed it because I was searching lost an found dogs at the time) and surely enough it was a text now number and area code being Ohio O.o I was like wtf?! So I texted saying “hello, you really have my dog?” And they said yes then followed that with saying they were going to send me a code an I needed to send it to them to verify I was real…I flipped out an went off on them…then they stopped replying…my friend hit them up and basically did the same thing to her…a few hours go by an they text back asking if they can send me the code to verify then I said f it fine. I gave them the code I got (not realizing of coarse because I just want my son back) an they told me it was wrong…they sent me this code 4 times and two more time to two different ppl all 6 times this code was supposedly wrong an after going through all that I went off on them again an they said they’d call in 30 minutes for they were at work…they didn’t call but the thing that made me realize it was fake was the fact that they said they had him but didn’t show me any kind of proof that they did, no pictures or anything….I kept saying how I had a reward for whomever returned him safely home and they didn’t even respond or ask for money the entire time so if they’re scamming me, then for what really if they showed absolutely no interest in the fact that I’m offering money?…

  • I appreciate that PawBoost sent this out immediately after signing up. Within 30min I received a text that she was found. I grabbed my keys and texted “Where?!” but there was a pause. I remembered the warning and sat down. Sure enough, I was asked to enter Google codes.

    Unbelievably cruel.

  • I got a text from a scammer say they had my dog. But wanted all my cell numbers. I can’t believe how mean people can be, I’m in uchealth getting test done on my seziers and this has been really hard on me cause my dog is my service dog. I hope they find the scammers.

  • People are so mean. I wish we could catch these people and prosecute them.

    I just received similar text messages about my neighbors lost cat I posted.

  • Maryellen Honkomp

    March 5, 2020 at 11:57 AM

    Just got a similar text that they had my cat but wanted to send a code to me if I was the real owner. I’m glad that I read this although I don’t open google verification code texts anyway unless I’m on phone with their support and they tell me they’re sending one. I wonder if anyone tried to catch these people by posting a lost pet that really isn’t lost, just to catch them and prosecute.

  • Scam still going strong — I have an animal that was FOUND and I’m trying to return it. Got a text asking for the google verification code etc. Thank god for this website I prob would have fallen for it — although it is weird. The ensuing conversation was amusing. I would have felt very differently if I had lost an animal. I had all the power in this situation. I yelled at him for preying on people trying to do the right thing.

  • I have a lost cat and posted it today. I got a text from an area code not in my area saying “I FOUND Cheddar your cat”. They wanted me to put in 6 digit code. I blocked the number. I new that was a scam.

  • I posted on my lost dog today and right away i get a text message that says “Laila i found her” and “she is with me. Now i have sent you 6 digit verify code. If you are real owner send me the 6 digit code then i send you my location.This code is 6 digit and i have sent the code from ****”
    I didn’t send it then i get a “???”
    Then another text “Are you there”
    I read that this is a scam that they are trying to hack into your phone.
    DISGUSTING HORRIBLE COMPLETE LACK OF COMPASSION.
    IM glad i listened to that inner voice that said…no.

  • BTW, THEIR PHONE NUMBER IS 541 615 2456 scam scam SCAM SCAM SCAM

  • thanks for posting this and including details. it’s valuable

    • I just received a scam text stating they have my cat. Sane number: (541) 615-2456

      • I posted my boy missing yesterday- thankfully, the rescue pages have posted warnings &I received an email from Pawboost warning me also.. Yep, sure enough, 1:30a.m. my phone went off& I see anonymous name text saying I found your dog. I said where?! They didn’t answer, just started with the they sent me a Google code garbage texts. There was no # to report so I just let it go. What sick, evil people.

  • Huh. Just got a text from that phone number. Thanks for the warning Deborah.

  • 541 615 2456 Texted me! I played along.. I said I received the code & was going to click on the link, to please hang on.. during the time, I got repeated texts; “did you get it” “???” . So I sent him a screen shot of the Pawboost Scam Warning Email.. then wrote, “You’re a pathetic human being! You think I’m that stupid to fall for your scam.. Unfortunately, you’re using a Burner number.. but Fortunately, my brother in law, is a police officer and is, VERY GOOD AT WHAT HE DOES! You’re being searched for as we speak! Now I wasn’t stupid to fall for your game, but you were stupid enough to fall for mine!”
    Although I’m so angry someone would do this to me, during this desperate time.. and only want my dog back.. I found some happiness thinking, hopefully I scared him a little bit!

    • i’m so upset!! this JUST HAPPENED to me!! they said they had my luci and i gave them the google verification codes and they said the codes weren’t matching.. i got so excited that someone had found her only to be let down. they also wanted me to provide family members or friends phone numbers to verify their text codes. i had no idea people scam on the owners of missing pets!! We are going through enough!! i’m outraged.

  • ‭+1 (541) 615-2456‬ What a loser

  • Or, you can handle it the same way I handled it yesterday night. This is absolutely true: My dog had disappeared for 2 1/2 days, and I’d literally just gotten her back after she ran miles and spent days in somebody’s house. They never intended for my dog to be found, it was supposed to become their new dog. No found notices, reports, no effort, nothing. Basically, they never intended for me to see my dog ever again. But, by a crazy stroke of random crazy wild luck, I caught a break and got a lead. She’s now back safe and sound, thank goodness. I already had read this site’s warning about these scams, which I’d seen when it was sent to my email. Literally five minutes after she’d gotten back home and was still running around excited to see me, I then got one of these text scams on my phone.

    So, this is exactly how the text conversation went last night. 100% true and totally verbatim (my dog’s name is Nadya):

    Text from (541)-615-2456, 10:08 PM: “Nadya I found your dog.”
    My texted reply, 10:15 PM: “Where, up your a**?”

    End of conversation.

  • Penny Sue Hippey

    July 7, 2020 at 4:25 PM

    That scam just happened to me why are people so cold hearted

  • Elaine Braun Murphy

    July 22, 2020 at 10:27 PM

    Just happened to me – very upsetting considering we are in the middle of trying to find our family pet. I did exactly what you are not supposed to do, and now am trying to follow craigs list recommendation for undoing the scam and getting my number back.

  • Got this text from 208 666 2952. Woke me up sleeping for work in the morning. Demanding 6 digit code to verify it is my cat, no idea what they were talking about.

  • I just got two of them. Both were from out of state. I am so glad I was warned by this site. One number was from NY and I told them that if they had my cat to send me a picture . They said not with the code so I could prove it was my cat. I said how is this for proof knock it off . I am sending your number to my friend who is NYPD. . NO response. Shame on them. The one number was 845-277-7463 and the other one was 435-3150290.

  • +1 (646) 817-6930 New York number, claiming to have our missing cat. “Oliver I have him” was the initial txt msg we received (Oliver being our cats name). We’re in Toronto, but played along and asked where we could meet to pick him up. They asked for proof we were the owner and I said sure we’ll bring his records. Radio silence after that.

  • +1(317)670-4279 Indianapolis number (Greenwood area) , texted found my cat. Wanted me to send a google verify code which was sent to me to proof I am the owner. Not a good idea! I just got the scam alert! Didn’t sent the code.

  • I was sent this scam shortly after posting. Did not know it was a scam but did seem a little fishy when asked for the 6 digits code. I replied on that not thinking clearly. Kinda caught me off guard. I want to report their scam number 1 (435) 514-1772 to alert others. Fortunately I do not have a google account, so hopefully I won’t be hacked.

  • 712-220-6075 (Iowa number) is also a scammer. Date: Oct. 29, 2020

  • There was an attempted scam last night. Just awful- wanted me to send “the code” to verify I was real.
    Terrible people in the world, playing on your emotions for a pet you love and miss so much.

  • I cant even explain the excitement and complete heartbreak that happen when some heartless and absolutely horrible human being thought that hurting someone like that is a good way to try to get money is not a human being at all!!!!! How about this idea get a darn job!!!!!! These people are heartless monsters !!!!!!!! I hope karma comes and visits them really soon and brings them the pain that there causing me. I received the text scam it was in broken English asking for the code to prove my identity. I felt like something wasn’t right and did a reverse number search and the results were scam/spam

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