Singapore—Losing a pet can be heartbreaking since our pets become like family to us.
One family took to social media to find their beloved cat, Homer, who had gone missing.
Unfortunately, they were contacted by a person who claimed to know where the pet was, and asked for a reward. This turned out to be a scam, as one family member wrote in a Facebook post.
They set up an Instagram account called @findhomer.sg on Dec 9 and posted multiple photos and videos of the feline.
In one post they wrote that he had last been seen on Dec 3 along Hartley Grove at 11:00 in the morning, and had not come home.
He’s described as being in good health, with a low hanging belly and a sightly arched spine, an asthmatic cough, and is afraid of other cats he’s unfamiliar with.
And while the family gave the SPCA (the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and AVA (the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority) Homer’s microchip number, the cat did not turn up with either agency.
On Dec 10, the family offered a sizable cash reward of S$3,000.
A few days later, the family also offered a cash reward for anyone living in Telok Kurau or Frankel Estate with CCTV or dashcam footage of Homer from Dec 3.
Homer even made it to Shin Min Daily News on Dec 13.
On Sunday, Marissa Wong, one of the members of the family, wrote a post on the Singapore Missing Cats public Facebook group page to warn others against getting scammed.
Ms Wong shared screenshots of a WhatsApp conversation between her brother and someone who claimed to know where Homer is.
The scammer, a woman, said that someone she knew was keeping the cat in a house at 2014 Bedok North Street 1, and asked for S$1,000 of the reward money upfront.
But Homer’s owners asked for proof of the cat’s identity, which the scammer would not give.
She assured the family that Homer would be returned by the man who took him, who was an old man who “thought it was a stray.”
The scammer said her husband, Rahul, would meet the family, but asked that the money be transferred to their account first. She finally gave her name as “Melissa.”
To make a long story short, after some wrangling S$300 was transferred to Melissa’s account and they made arrangements to meet at the Bedok North address at 7:30 one morning.
Needless to say, neither “Melissa” nor “Rahul” showed up for the meeting.
Ms Wong wrote, “I’m sharing these screenshots and images as a lesson learnt and to warn people with missing pets offering a reward NOT TO FALL PREY TO THESE SCAMMERS, no matter how desperate you are to be reunited with your pet.
“We did it because we felt that perhaps this person was afraid we would run away with Homer without paying up, hence the $300 “deposit” to help reassure him or her that we are sincere about the $3,000 cash reward for Homer. I hope that the police will be able to trace down this scum of the earth so that he or she won’t be able to hurt those who are already hurting.”
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