Aircraft owners beware: Scammers on the prowl

June 3, 2006

Aircraft owners beware: Scammers on the prowl

Scammers looking to make a quick buck are targeting aircraft owners. Over the past six months, scammers from Thailand, Nigeria, and the Netherlands have been contacting aircraft owners who have their birds for sale.

Here's the scenario: You are selling your old Cessna 172 for $50,000. A potential "buyer" contacts you through a Web board or e-mail solicitation and offers to buy your aircraft. This person offers to pay you $55,000, if you agree to send them a $5,000 check for the difference.

You receive what looks like a legitimate check, so you send them the $5,000. But when you try to cash the check, you are told there are no funds in the account. You're out $5,000.

"The best way to protect yourself when selling an aircraft is to do some investigative work. Check out the party offering to buy the aircraft," said Woody Cahall, AOPA vice president of aviation services. "When you receive a check, make sure it is legitimate - get your money before sending a check for the difference."

If you have any questions about selling your aircraft, contact the AOPA Pilot Information Center weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern time at 800/USA-AOPA or via e-mail.

March 6, 2006