NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Pets are part of the family, so when a pet goes missing, all hands are on deck to bring them home.
Friends of a Nashville cat owner did what many of us would do — they posted online about missing black cat Ming Mei. Unfortunately, this almost led to her losing more than her pet.
Vernell Hackett’s friend owns Ming Mei. Hackett helps her friend report that the six-month-old cat is missing. She also posted on lost pet sites and social media.
“People called and said ‘I have a black cat’ or ‘We found this black cat,’ but they weren’t her cat,” Hackett explained.
After a few days the women had a good lead. The person who said they found him said they found Ming Mei at work. He also had a picture.
They were told to meet at a gas station in Bordeaux to retrieve the cat. It is 15 miles from where the cat went missing. It was also eleven o’clock at night.
When the women reached there, the man called. They called and demanded $50 before arriving with the cat.
“They asked for money: ‘Are you going to pay me … for my trouble?’ And Liz said, ‘Yes, when you bring me a cat and I’m sure it’s my cat, I’ll give you a reward for finding my cat,’ and the man said, ‘No. , you have to pay me first,’ said Hackett.
The women knew better than to pay a stranger up front, so they canceled the meeting.
“You want to give them the benefit of the doubt but we felt it wasn’t… it just didn’t feel right…” Hackett said.
Surprisingly, the very next day, Ming Mei was found at a neighbor’s house.
As for the photo the scammers sent — which drew them again — the women now think it was a photo of Ming Mei.
“It looked like it was blown up. You can do a lot of things on a computer these days. It looks like someone took a picture of a picture and blew it up a little bit… when you look for Trying your cat, you don’t examine every aspect of what you’re looking at when you see they have a picture of a black cat,” Hackett said.
Even the FBI is warning people about missing pet scams. In November, the El Paso FBI Field Office posted about the tactics scammers use. They said the scammers pretended to be animal services, and demanded money to pay for their pets’ injuries before releasing them.
They are also taking to popular social media platforms creating fake profiles, joining missing pet pages, and then posting about an injured animal. They allegedly take them to the vet and try to find the owner, only to extort money from them, leaving the pet owner heartbroken and short on cash. They even set up fake companies that are “best at finding lost animals.”
It is recommended that you ask to see your pet in person or ask them to share any details about your pet that you did not include in the lost pet post.
(Tags translation) FBI Pet Scam