August 1, 2013 - If you receive a postcard stating you've been selected to receive 2 round trip airfare tickets to anywhere in the U.S., don't believe it. It's a scam.
How the scam works
You've receive a postcard in the mail stating:
"Congratulations we've selected you to receive 2 round trip airfares to anywhere in the contiguous United States - good for the next 12 months.
Call within 48 hours and receive a 3 day and 2 night hotel stay at major brands.
To claim this special offer, simply call and mention your promo code"
These postcards display photos of airplanes and appear to come from a major airline such as American Airlines, Delta or Southwest Airline companies. The cards instruct the recipient to call a toll-free number fri more information. When a consumer calls the number, a representative from he promotions company asks a series of questions such as marital status, age and credit card information.
The company goes by the name of Memorable Vacations based in Phoenix, Arizona. They are a marketing wholesale company that is hired by multiple travel agents who purchase the airline tickets. A BBB investigation found no registration of a company by that name with the Arizona Secretary of State.
Amanda Tietze, BBB Vice President of Public Relations states "These postcards are not sent by the airline companies but are actually from a travel promotion company. The cards are sent int he hopes to lure consumers into attending a presentation encouraging them to join a travel club."
Consumers should be aware that others that have attended similar type presentations encountered high pressure sales tactics to join the travel club costing them thousands of dollars a year. If and when they received their travel voucher, they learned they had to pay taxes and additional fees of $100 per person or more. Whey trying to book their flights, many travel dates were blocked and travel "restrictions" were so strict it was nearly impossible to book a flight.
BBB recommends the following advice on travel promotion offers
- Get the details - Consumers are encouraged to obtain the names, addresses and telephone numbers for the lodgings, airlines and cruise shops advertised in a vacation promotion.
- Don't be fooled by official looking websites - Fraudulent travel deals can be hard to distinguish from legitimate ones. Their intent is to lure people into buying vacations that they otherwise would not consider. These types of scams are on the increase in part due to the ease in disguising a true company's identity in subrace.
- Get specifics in writing - Get the details of the promotion in writing including refund and cancellation policy, before sending a check or providing credit card information. If asked to provide credit card or bank account information for verification, you should reconsider. This information can be used to make fraudulent charges or debits to your account.
- Check it out - If you are tempted to respond to travel solicitations, the BBB recommends you investigate the offer before hand. Contact the BBB at 1-800-362-0494 to verify the legitimacy of any offer.