Those injured pet posts are the bait. Then comes the switch.


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SAN ANTONIO – The pictures pasted on social media posts about missing children or lost, injured pets may not be what they seem. And if you share them, you may be spreading a scam to your friends and not even know it.

Scrolling through Facebook, the images catch your eye and heart. Typically, the post says they are desperately searching for the owner of a “sweet girl” or “sweet boy,” a dog they just found on injured on the side of the road. “Please bump,” is the plea.

“And, you feel compelled to share,” said Jason Meza, regional director of the Better Business Bureau.

But hold on. It’s likely fake.

“It is a bait and switch where they’ll try to get as many people to share a lost pet, a missing person or missing item,” Meza said.

A ruse about missing children is often the bait. A Facebook search of the words, “This is the most recent picture of my son,” turned up at least four identical images of a boy called Tyler, only he had a different last name and location in each.

The description in fake missing children posts is often identical — the child is wearing black Converse with red and purpose shoestrings and a zip-up hoodie.

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