Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Reno-Tahoe International Airport (KRNO) reports 'at least a dozen' cases of pet adoption scam



Local residents are being warned about a fraudulent pet adoption scam claiming to work with the airport, a news release from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport said. According to spokesperson for the airport April Conway, there were "at least a dozen" reports of the scam happening this year.

"The airport has received several reports this year of companies contracting with individuals to adopt non-existent pets who are allegedly being sent via cargo or commercial air carrier to RNO," the release said.

Airport spokesman Brian Kulpin said the most recent case happened Sunday when a woman went to the airport to pick up two monkeys she purchased online. Kulpin said she wired $1,700 for the monkeys.

"It's been dogs and cats so far but this was the first time someone has tried to come and pick up monkeys," he said.

According to the release, the companies allegedly ask for money up front and tell the customer the pet will be shipped to the Reno area using the airport's address. Conway said people have "lost hundreds even thousands of dollars" on the non-existent pets. When the pets aren't at the airport, the customers realize they have been scammed, the release said.

"Customers attest that the companies communicate via text or email and if they do call on the phone, frequently have some sort of accent," the release said. "Complaints allege that the company websites look legitimate and some even post 'how to avoid pet scam' information. Some will also ask for extra monies if the animal 'is diabetic' or is 'in need of extra medical attention'."

According to a report from the Better Business Bureau, the pet scams appear to originate in Cameroon and "use workers in the U.S. to pick up wire payments sent through Western Union or MoneyGram."

“Our community is full of compassionate pet owners and it’s disheartening that some corrupt individuals are using our airport, and the good hearts of our local residents, in this way,” said President and CEO of Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority Marily Mora.

As this type of fraud crosses state lines, the Federal Bureau of Investigations is involved and residents who may have been affected are encouraged to call 1-800-CallFBI (1-800-225-5324).

The Better Business Bureau offered the following tips for people looking to purchase pets:

Research any business and its owners carefully before paying any money. Check the company’s BBB Business Profile at bbb.org.

If possible, try to pick up the puppy in person. Puppy scams depend on buyers trusting that the animals will be delivered to them.

Be careful about buying a puppy from anyone you don’t know, and be especially skeptical if the price is much lower than normal.

Avoid wiring money or using prepaid cards or gift cards to pay for transporting animals. Instead pay by credit card in case you need to challenge the purchase later.

Research pet adoption requirements in your area. Get a good grasp on what fees, permits and licenses are required by your local government and know whether they should be collected by the seller or government.

Consider getting a rescue dog if having a purebred dog is not a priority. Generally, rescues are less expensive than purebred pets and often have fewer health problems.

Victims of this fraud can report it to BBB Scam Tracker

Original article can be found here ➤ http://www.rgj.com

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