Reno airport warns residents of pet adoption scam

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Officials at Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) are warning residents of fake online pet adoption companies selling non-existent pets and telling people to pick them up at the airport.

Airport officials say they have had several reports of the pet scam this year. They say customers would pay for the pets and were told that they would be shipped via cargo or commercial air carrier to RNO. When pets did not arrive at the airport as scheduled, customers would realize they were scammed.

According to RNO, these companies frequently ask money up front, often through wire services. Customers who were scammed say the companies communicated via text or email. The complaints allege the company websites look legitimate and some even post "how to avoid pet scam" information. Some will also ask for extra money if the animal is "diabetic" or "in need of extra attention."

President and CEO of Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority Marily Mora released this statement: "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."

Since this type of fraud crosses state lines, the Federal Bureau of Investigations is involved, and victims are encouraged to call 1-800-CALLFBI (1-800-225-5324).