On Your Side: Missing pet scam

Published: Feb. 13, 2023 at 6:31 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - If you own a dog or a cat, you’ll probably think this scam is from the lowest of the low. Crooks prey on people frantically searching for their missing pet.

Sherry Covington and Ron Pronchick were trying to do the right thing. They took a few of their cats to the SAAF House in Springfield to get fixed.

“The carrier I had them in busted, and the bottom came out, and she ran before she got spayed or anything,” said Covington.

Lovey the cat never made it inside the clinic. She’s missing.

“I have no idea where she went or what direction,” said Pronchick.

They talked to neighbors. Then made a plea on Leigh’s Lost and Found Facebook page.

“We got this message; We found her,” said Pronchick.

It reads, “Greetings, I and my neighbor located your beloved cat off the street.”

“It just didn’t sound right from the very beginning,” said Covington.

Her gut was right, but they kept talking to the scammer. After all, they wanted this to be true.

“I would have done anything to find her,” she said.

The scammer asked for their address and said they could deliver the animal if the owners sent gas money immediately. It’s all a lie. Con artists are trying to steal your money.

“When you lose a pet, people often go into panic mode immediately,” said Leigh Moody with Leigh’s Lost and Found. “They are desperate. It’s really playing on people’s emotions, in the worst way.”

Scammers want to bank on your emergency. Fortunately, Sherry and Ron never sent money. They asked the swindler for a photo of Lovey.

“They finally sent a pic of a calico cat, and it wasn’t even close,” said Pronchick.

“It crushed our hopes,” said Covington.

Confirmation of a cruel trick at the expense of a pet owner’s frantic heart.

“They go through lost and found pages, not just mine, but all kinds of lost and found pages because it’s easy to find people who are in that -- I want to believe state. So they’re much easier to trick and much easier to scam. You’re dangling what they want more than anything at moment,” said Moody.

If you or someone you know is searching for a lost pet, here’s some advice:

  • If you’re offering a reward, do not list the amount.
  • If someone says they found your pet, ask them to send a photo.
  • Do not give them money until you have your animal back. Cash is the best option.

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com