The Greater Asheville Regional Airport is alerting the public about a pet scam involving bogus purchases and false claims that animals are being detained at the airport.
The pet scam involves online ads or unsolicited e-mails that offer to sell and ship pets — such as puppies, birds and monkeys — from overseas. After the buyer purchases the pet, the seller requests additional money, frequently claiming that the pet is sick and is being held at the airport until it receives vaccinations needed to pass through customs. The scam victim often pays the additional money and contacts the Asheville Regional Airport for details about obtaining the pet. There is no customs facility for pets at the airport.
Consumers should be on the alert for the following flags of a potential scam:
• Scam e-mails use unofficial Airport e-mail addresses. All official Asheville Regional Airport emails will have @flyavl.com addresses.
• Be wary of sellers who communicate only through e-mail. A legitimate transaction should allow the buyer to communicate directly with the breeder and the veterinarian to inquire about the animal’s medical history.
• Beware of sellers who use pressure tactics in e-mail communication.
• Avoid sellers who accept only wire payments or money orders. Use a payment method that offers fraud protection, such as a credit card.
For more information on pet scams, go to: www.aspca.org/adoption/adoption-tips/pet-scam-stories.
Consumers who suspect they have been victims of scams should file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center to report internet fraud. Their address is www.ic3.gov.