“Puppy Pet Insurance” Scam Reaches Casper Airport
Officials at Casper-Natrona County International Airport say they’ve been contacted multiple times in recent weeks about a purportedly fraudulent pet shipment company that airport officials say is bilking each of its customers out of $1,500 or more.
Animal Airways Services claims it will ship puppies across the country to its customers through Casper-Natrona County International Airport. Airport officials say the scam kicks in when company employees first contact the customers, saying that Casper-Natrona County International Airport staff will not allow their new puppy to be shipped until a “puppy pet insurance” wire transfer to another company, VPI Pet Insurance, is completed.
“Of course, the puppy never shows up and the money goes off to a company in Turkey,” Casper-Natrona County International Airport manager Glenn Januska said. “It seems to be something that's been happening for a number of years.”
Januska says, to his knowledge, nobody in Wyoming has been affected by the scam. He also says most callers inquiring about their puppy or their “puppy pet insurance” payment are from eastern states.
“It’s not one specific state,” Januska said. “The people are told the puppies are being shipped through Casper, so, when they don’t come, and they’re trying to follow up on what’s happening, that’s when we get contacted."
VPI Pet Insurance's website says it's a branch company of Ohio-based Nationwide Insurance. According to the Better Business Bureau, VPI Pet Insurance is based out of Brea, Calif., and has an ‘A+’ rating.
“The company that provides the insurance is actually a legitimate company, it’s just that the company doesn’t provide ("puppy pet insurance") – this fraudulent company is just using their name,” Januska said.
Airport officials say individuals who've been scammed by Animal Airways Services should contact their local authorities immediately.