As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Exotic Bird Scam Separates Woman From Cash, BBB Warns

St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 24, 2012 – The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning bird fanciers to be wary of buying feathered friends from unknown sellers – even sellers using the address of a St. Louis City government building.
“I’m so mad at myself,” said a woman from Plainwell, Mich., who lost more than $1,100 to a thief who had promised to sell her two rose-breasted cockatoos. The con-man used addresses in Michigan, Maryland and 1520 Market Street in St. Louis. The Market Street building, sometimes known as St. Louis City Hall-West, houses several city offices.
The woman said she found the parrots on the website, a site where sellers can advertise birds for sale. She said she communicated via email with the supposed seller for several days before sending payments to what she thought were addresses in St. Louis and the Republic of Cameroon in Africa. She said she realized she had been scammed when the birds never arrived and the seller demanded more money.
Worried that its site can be exploited by thieves, has provided its users with an extensive warning on potential scams. It suggests to consumers that “dealing locally, where you can see the other party face-to-face, is always best.” The site also warns buyers to avoid Western Union or MoneyGram payments for online purchases. The Michigan woman used MoneyGram to send payments to the scammer.
Michelle Corey, BBB president and CEO, said exotic bird scams are a twist on what have become known as “puppy scams,” where potential buyers send money for purebred puppies they never receive.

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