(KRON) — Scammers have been trying to extort money from people who have posted about their lost animals online by claiming to be an employee of Oakland Animal Services, the agency said Wednesday. OAS said a person who claims to be an employee is contacting people and telling them their lost animal has been found, but is severely injured.

The unknown caller than reportedly tells people they must pay a large fee to cover the animal’s medical bills.

“This is a scam. OAS would never ask for money over the phone,” the agency said in a news release.

Oakland Animal Services is asking that the community share this information to help prevent people from becoming victims of the scam.

“We understand that anyone who has lost a pet is feeling especially stressed, making them so vulnerable to a cruel scam like this,” said Ann Dunn, Director of Oakland Animal Services.

OAS said that if it were to contact someone about a lost pet, the owner would be asked to come to an OAS facility to confirm the animal was theirs, and would never request payment over the phone.

Anyone who is uncertain about whether they are interacting with an actual OAS rep is asked to email oas@oaklandca.net or to come to Oakland Animal Services in-person.