LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Little Rock’s nonprofit Friends of the Animal Village have warned that they’re seeing a new scam that is taking advantage of owners of missing pets and is difficult to identify as a scam.

According to a release from the LRAV, calls are being made to people who are searching for a lost pet, with the caller claiming to be calling from the Little Rock Animal Village, the Municipal Animal Shelter for the city of Little Rock.

During the call, you are instructed to pay the reclaim fee immediately, and the caller provides instructions for how to make that payment.

The LRAV, however, only accepts payment for reclaim and adoption fees in person at the shelter via cash, check, or card. They will never ask for payment over the phone or instruct you to make a payment anywhere other than at the shelter, located at 4500 Kramer Street in Little Rock.

Spokesperson Betsy Robb said that the scammers are actually claiming to be from the FAV, which makes the scam more frustrating.

“For years we’ve been warning pet parents about the scam where they send a text message claiming to have found your lost pet, then ask you for a code,” Robb said. “But this new tactic is extra frustrating for us since they’re claiming to actually be with LRAV.”

Robb said that when LRAV takes in an animal who is wearing a collar or tag with a phone # on it or who is microchipped, they call those phone numbers in an attempt to reunite them with their family.

They will never ask for payment over the phone though or instruct you to make payment anywhere but at the shelter. If someone does, your next step should be to call the shelter directly 501-376-3067 to verify the information.