A Madison County family is warning the community they were targeted by scammers after they lost their cat and posted to social media asking for help. The cat went missing near Wall Triana Highway and Nick Davis Road in June.
Cordelea Campbell said her family's 3-year-old Siamese cat went missing last month, so like many others, they took to social media asking if anyone had spotted it.
"We made a lot of posts online so our contact information was online for people to find," she said.
Campbell said she received a text message saying someone had found the family's pet.
"I immediately asked, 'How do you know that it's mine, because there are a couple of Siamese that are missing at the moment?' And, they just said, 'I'm sure,'" she said.
Campbell said the person's phone number was an out-of-area number, and they became angry when she asked questions.
"I was pretty attached to the idea of getting him back, so it felt pretty bad," she said.
The person on the other end of the phone told her if she wanted her cat, she would need to send them $20 through a payment app before they could meet her. The scammer also said they weren't interested in the $250 reward the Campbell family was offering.
"I feel like it takes a really desperate person to steal $20 from someone who's desperate to find a beloved family pet," she said.
Campbell said she wants other people who aren't tech-savvy to know about the scam, so they don't turn over any money.
"It's a really cruel way to play on people. There are a lot of people, especially people who aren't as familiar with technology, who can fall for that kind of thing," she said.
The couple said it's still looking for the cat and hopes if somebody sees it, they will contact them.
WAAY 31 learned the Better Business Bureau warned people about a similar scam back in July of 2017, but hasn't seen this scam pop up again until recently.
The BBB suggests that anyone who posts about a lost pet limits the information in social media posts, watches for spoofed numbers, asks for a photo and never wires money or uses a prepaid debit card to pay someone you don't know. It's also recommended to microchip and/or ID tag your pet.