Here’s another mailing about free airline tickets, only instead of coming from a fake incentive company, it is from a fake airline called US Airlines – “Fly the US skies”! (See other posts here.) Please comment if you received one.
They have a variation that includes an award notification and boarding pass. See below for pictures.
It tells you that you have qualified for an award of 2 roundtrip airline tickets. It looks like it was actually signed by Barbara Dion or Alexia Pitt or Kate White or Loretta Cape or Ann Roy or Charlene James or Angela King or Marcia O’Neal or Janelle Kelly or Candice Bray or Phyllis Neal or Melanie Car or Jessica Clay or Katherine Cota or Christina Jud or Shauna West or Jane Austin or Hillary Baio or Jessica Nish or C. Ray or Dorothy Wade or Linda Ford or Jade Beal or Nicole Clay or Valerie Fay or Erica Bale or K. Mane or Loretta Pine or Alexis Doug or Kristina Bar or Brittany Hunt or Doris Jack, the “Vice President.” They hand write the address on the envelope and use a real stamp (sometimes!).
Here is the cheesy website for this letter. Once you go to the sales pitch and sign up, you book through a fulfillment company. I’ve seen two lately: Universal Travel Vacations (website, BBB report) or the The Vacation Station (website, BBB report TN, BBB report SC)
I have found the answers to this mystery thanks to the great work of the folks at BBB in Tucson, AZ:
An actual story: http://www.kgun9.com/features/investigations/122887609.html
NEW video from INSIDE THE SALES PRESENTATION: http://www.9news.com/news/article/362984/339/Companies-behind-free-airline-ticket-letters-
Video from inside the first ever video encounter I’ve seen: http://www.kboi2.com/news/local/Travel-service-vacation-smart-international-us-airlines-vacationanddeals-com-175915611.html?tab=video&c=y
If you would like to read more about these folks, visit this post. You can read all about the sales presentation, the free offer and the what you get for your vacation membership club cash outlay.
I am pleased to inform you that you have qualified for an award of 2 roundtrip airline tickets. Congratulations. These tickets are valid for travel anywhere in the Continental U.S. The retail value of this award is up to $1,400.00. Certain restrictions apply.
We have attempted contacting you several times without success. This is our last attempt. If we do not hear from you soon, we may need to issue the ticket vouchers to the alternate.
Please call me today at 1-866-995-7151 (numbers always changing).
VP du jour (see above)
AWARD NOTIFICATION/BOARDING PASS:
Here is what would happen if you did call:
When I read this, it was just too good not to post. It’s from the Nebraska Attorney General (page 13 printed/page 15 PDF).
Look for the warning signs that may indicate a scam:
- Benefits sound too good to be true.
- The company has no permanent address and all presentations are held in rented conference rooms.
- They can’t, or won’t, provide you with references.
- They don’t want to give you an itemized list of what’s included in your trip until you have already signed the contract.
What you should do if you suspect a scam:
- Don’t sign any contract during the travel presentation. They are high-pressure events intended to stir the emotions of an exotic vacation.
- Contact a respected travel agent in town, give them the specifics of the trip, and ask if that seems consistent with industry pricing.
- Shop around. Compare your trip with other travel packages being offered to seniors.
Here is Michigan’s Attorney General’s advice: