A Victoria woman is warning other pet owners of a scam that’s targeting those who have missing pets.
Jacqui Loughton lost her cat, Georgie, after she wandered onto her front driveway where neighbours claimed that her cat was picked up by two people who then walked away.
As most people would do in this situation, Loughton posted pictures online and hung up posters with her personal cell phone number in her Fernwood neighbourhood.
Soon after, she got a text message with someone claiming to have Georgie, but something about the text message didn’t add up.
“They didn’t actually say they had my cat, they said they knew who had my cat and they said it was a friend of theirs and that they could get it,” said Loughton.
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Loughton said that they were not giving her a location where Georgie could be, and then she clued in that the next step was for them to ask her for money.
Loughton called the Victoria Police Department and was told that the phone number came from the mainland and not Victoria. Because the unknown scammer didn’t explicitly ask for money during the exchange, the person was not located or charged.
Co-founder Leslie Steeves from ROAM, a group that helps cat and dog owners locate their missing pets, says that they often get scammers texting and calling them as well.
“We usually answer with, ‘Oh great, can you send us photographs?’ Then the next step for them is to ask us to send them a six-digit code of some kind. We use our phone number for pet owners so they don’t have their personal information out,” said Steeves.
Georgie’s owner is hoping that someone just picked her up to keep her safe.
“I had breast cancer so through all of my treatments she sat with me. She sat on my lap and wouldn’t let me give up,” said Loughton.
Georgie was last seen on Sept. 17 in the 1500-block of Denman Street. Anyone who has any information regarding Georgie is asked to contact ROAM.