For one family in Singapore, losing their cat, Homer, has been a particularly distressing experience.
Back in December 2020, they took to social media sharing that their cat has gone missing since Dec. 3, and anyone who can return their cat will get a cash reward of S$3,000.
In a recent turn of unfortunate events, one of the family members, Marissa Wong, claimed that they were scammed of S$300 by someone claiming to have found their cat.
She uploaded screenshots of a WhatsApp conversation between her brother and the purported scammer on Facebook group Singapore Missing Cats on Jan. 23.
Someone claimed to have found cat in Bedok
According to the screenshots shared, someone by the name of 'Melissa' had texted Wong's brother on the evening of Jan. 21 claiming to have found their cat.
The person said that the cat was "picked up by (her) friend in a van", and is currently in their friend's home.
Wong's brother pleaded for more details, but was told to pay S$1,000 first before she would send the address over.
Wong's brother asked for some proof that it was indeed their cat.
The person did not share any evidence, but insisted that "it is the same cat" as it was taken from "Frankel avenue", which was where Homer first went missing.
Negotiating the amount to be paid in advance
Wong's brother was told to meet someone the next morning at 7:30am, but had to transfer a portion of the money (S$1,000, to be exact) first.
"If it's not your cat, I will pay you another S$1,000," the person said. The person also said that they have "no intention of lying".
Wong's brother refused to transfer any money in advance. Instead, he suggested paying S$1,000 upon meeting 'Melissa's husband, before giving the balance of S$2,000 once they got their cat.
'Melissa', however, refused, saying that "it doesn't work for (them)".
"Sorry... You can find your cat yourself," she said.
Nobody showed up at the meeting place
Eventually, they decided to transfer S$300 to the person before arranging to meet at Bedok the next day.
In the Facebook post, she explained that they decided to transfer the S$300 because they were afraid that the person "would run away with Homer", and wanted to reassure the person that they were sincere about the cash reward.
But nobody showed up the next day when they went to the meeting place:
A police report was subsequently made on Jan. 23.
A warning to pet owners
Reflecting on the entire incident, Wong said that some might call them "stupid" for believing the person's claims.
But she went on, saying: "If you were in our shoes, you would not be able to say no to a shred of hope."
She also warned pet owners offering a reward for lost pets not to fall prey to scammers, regardless of "how desperate (they) are to be reunited with (their) pet".
We have reached out to Wong for more details.
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Top photo via Marissa Wong/FB.