Remember when we told you about the scammers out to trick people into thinking they’d won travel vouchers from the nonexistent (at least in the U.S.) United Airways? Since then we’ve heard of two apparently separate-but-similar scams using the Travelocity name to deceive unsuspecting consumers.
First we heard from Consumerist reader J., who snapped a photo of the questionable letter he’d received from “Travelocity.” It reads:
You will receive 2 round-trip airline tickets on Southwest, Jet Blue, United, or a comparable airline, plus a 3-day/2-night weekend getaway at a hotel such as Marriott, Hyatt and Hilton.
BONUS: Call within 48 hours and you will also receive a $50 Travelocity Hotel Cash Card!
We have attempted contacting you several times. This is our last attempt.
And then provides a phone number and offer code for J. to claim his prize.
In addition to the awkwardly written text of the letter, another huge clue that this letter might not have been sent from Travelocity is that the envelope had a return address sticker, not with the company name or address, but the name of a woman named Mary in Florida.
Out of curiosity, we Google mapped the address on the label, and it’s a small private residence. Perhaps it’s the Roaming Gnome’s winter home?
The airline and hotel language is identical, but the $50 cash card is now part of the promotion and the bonus for calling within 48 hours is even sweeter — “A 3 DAY RENT-A-CAR PLUS A $100 DINING CARD!!”
The back of the card repeats this text, along with an “RSVP code” for claiming the prize.
S. did some digging online and found a few posts regarding this scam, including this nearly identical one using the name of Southwest, dating back to 2011.
We went directly to Travelocity about these two letters and the company confirmed that it not only knows about it, but that it’s trying to put an end to the practice.
“Travelocity is not running these promotions and both the letter and postcard were sent by a third party that is not affiliated with Travelocity, and not authorized to use our trademarks,” a company rep tells Consumerist. “We are pursuing legal action against the senders.”
Travelocity says that if you get one of the letters seen above, just disregard and toss it in with the recycling.
Bogus prizes and awards were the second-most prevalent type of scam in a recent Federal Trade Commission survey of consumer fraud incidents, with about 2.4 million known incidents in 2011 alone.
You can — and should — file a complaint with the FTC and your state’s Attorney General when you come across a scam. Here is a link to the FTC’s complaint assistant, and here is a directory of contact information for each state’s Attorney General.