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Scam targets owners of lost pets in Chilliwack

Police lights - File
Police lights
— image credit: File

Scam artists rely on catching victims at their most vulnerable—and a new local con scheme is no different.

According to Chilliwack RCMP, a "fraudster" replies to pleas for information about missing pets, posing as someone who has rescued the pet and needs gas money to return it home.

"It is really unfortunate to have to put out a public warning of this nature, but criminals will stoop very low to get what they want," Cst. Tracy Wolbeck noted in a press release.

Victims for this scam are easy to find; after all, those who have lost their furry friends are anxious to spread the message as far as possible.

And because characteristics about the pet's appearance and personality are often included on "missing" posters, this particular scam artist is able to bluff through enough details to convince the owner he's found their missing pet.

And owners, concerned for their pet's well-being, are all too willing to believe him.

"This fraudster is capitalizing on the fact that people will do just about anything to have their pets returned," Wolbeck said. "He contacts the pet owners and says he needs gas money to bring the pet back to them. Money has been sent to him and of course no dog has been returned."

To help combat this sort of scheme, police recommend leaving out key characteristics from wanted posters—such as unique markings or other identifiers—so legitimate rescuers can confirm they have your pet in front of them.

If you have any information about these incidents, please contact the Chilliwack RCMP at 604-792-4611 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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