Lost Pets, Rewards and Scams
We are so sorry that your pet is still missing! We understand the heartbreak and the feeling of emptiness every fruitless search day brings. We also understand and respect your choice to offer a large reward or increase it even further thinking that it will motivate whoever has your pet to give it back to you.
Large rewards - good idea?
This is absolutely natural and is a way of processing the loss - the bargaining. However, it usually leads to more problems than it promises to solve. In our experience, most people will refuse to take a reward when offered, unlike people who have bad intentions and are not interested in returning your pet to you, but rather are after your money.
However, if you still want to go ahead and try it, we would like to give you some tips on how to avoid being scammed out of your money and still not have your pet back.
If you are contacted by someone who claims to have your pet but wants to make sure you are willing to pay the reward, please be cautious! However tempting it may be, do not give them any of your private information before you make sure they actually have your pet. Ask them to send you pictures of your pet or confirm a secret feature that they would not know about from your public ads.
If they tell you they will drop your pet off at your house as soon as they get your ‘reward’ payment, do not pay anything and consider informing the Police immediately. Save all communication you have with them in case they are trying to commit a fraud: write down names, numbers, keep emails, take screenshots of messages, posts, profiles on facebook, in case they try to delete everything later.
You may want to play along and pretend you are going to pay and ask them for their account information. It may make it easier to track the fraudster down when you take this information to the Police. For more information on how to recognise a scam and how not to fall victim to it visit our Scam Watch.
Consider the alternative.
A small reward (up to $100) can motivate school kids to help you search, distribute flyers and etc., so put an ad up at your local school asking them for help. Or invest in a Pet Alert or any type of media to cover a larger search area, as your pet may simply be further away than you think and that one person that can help may not even know you are looking for your pet.
This is general advice from our experience. Use this advice at your own discretion.