Airport warns of pet adoption scam

RENO – Officials at Reno-Tahoe International (RNO) are alerting local residents of fraudulent pet adoption companies claiming to operate in conjunction with the airport. 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.

These companies frequently ask for money up front, often through money wire services, for pets to be shipped to the Reno area and use the RNO address, letting people know they can pick up their “new pet” at the airport. When the pets aren’t at the airport as scheduled, customers usually realize they’ve been scammed.

Customers attest that the companies communicate via text or email and if they do call on the phone, frequently have some sort of accent. Complaints allege that the company web sites 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.”

“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 Marily Mora, President and CEO of Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority.

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).