Oregon family warns of scam targeting people with lost pets

The Wileys posted a "lost pet" notice on Craigslist after one of their ducks disappeared. (Contributed Photo)

A Tigard family is sending out a warning about a potential scam that targets people who have lost pets.

"We've heard about scams before," said Katherine Wiley. "I've certainly been hit up in a scam before, so we knew that if he started asking for money that would definitely be the cut-off point."

The Wileys may not have fallen for the scam, but they want others to be aware.

It started Saturday night when they went to round up the family's two Cayuga ducks, Peanut and Butter, in the backyard. Peanut was missing. When he couldn't be located the next day, the family put up a "lost pet" notice on Craigslist. They received a text Monday night.

"Essentially, the conversation was like, 'Hey I found the duck. He came right up to me like you said he might in the Craigslist post, and it was stormy Saturday night so I picked him up and put him in my truck,'" recounted Wiley. "He went on to say, 'I'm not in the area anymore, but I've got your duck and I really want to return him to you.'"

The man claimed to be a trucker and said he was now in West Virginia. The distance seemed too great in Katherine's mind. He also asked for money to be wired to him so he could ship the bird back. The Wileys asked for a picture and he sent a generic one.

"Those ducks all look similar," said Wiley. "There are a lot of pictures on the internet."

When the Wileys asked for a more specific one that would show some of Peanut's identifying characteristics, the man refused.

"I'm 100 percent sure he didn't have our duck," said Wiley.

The man ended the text conversation by writing, "Okay, I'll just go kill it."

"That last sentence was just really terrible," said Wiley.

Wiley is still hopeful Peanut might simply be lost somewhere. But she also admits a predator may have gotten a hold of him. She says Peanut is a friendly duck who will likely approach people. If you have any information, you can contact the Wileys through their Craigslist post.

KATU News also reached out to several local law enforcement agencies to see if scams like this might be increasing. No agency reported an uptick in this particular kind of scam.

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