Too bad that Steven was still sick and coughing like a fiend today, because he didn’t feel like putting forth much effort to calling the number from the phony US Airlines letter we received in the mail yesterday. We did call though, even if the conversation wound up being rather uneventful. Here is the official transcript.

After dialing 1-866-219-9167 and hearing a couple of rings, we are greeted by a computerized female voice saying:


“You have reached the Travel Awards Division, please hold while we connect your call.”


A few seconds later, there is a click, and an actual human being abruptly answers.


“Hello, this is Matt with Travel Awards. How can I help you?” the male says. His voice is flat and monotone.


“Hi yes, I received a letter that I needed to call this number in order to claim $1400 in travel rewards,” Steven says.


“Oh yes, sir, I can definitely help you out,” Matt says. “At the bottom of the letter, you should see a claim number. If you could just read that to me?”


“Yes, that would be C-Q-1-1-6-7-7,” Steven says.


“And this is Steven?” Matt asks.


“That is correct,” Steven replies.


“Okay, Steven, well just so you know, based on what I see here, you received an Award Notification for two roundtrip airlane tickets that are valued up to $1400.”


“Okay,” Steven says.


“Okay,” Matt continues. “We’re an award redemption company, Steven. We were hired by a wholesale travel agency in Lincoln who are trying to get their name out there to the local market, so this is their marketing promotion for your area. All that we ask for you to do to redeem your tickets is to stop by the travel ageny to pick them up and take a brief tour of their services while you’re there. Their goal is to treat you really nice and provide you with the tickets in hopes that you keep them in mind when you plan your future vacation.”


“Okay, and where is this place located?” Steven asks.


There is a long pause.


“Uh…right there in Lincoln, sir,” Matt replies.


“Oh? What’s the address?” Steven asks.


Another pause, and then Matt continues.


“Alright, sir, if you want to do this, we have to set up an appointment for you…”


“Oooh okay,” Steven says, interrupting Matt’s spiel, but Matt continues to muster through.


“…based on the information…There’s some information I need to cover with you, probably, before you’re ever going to make that decision, I’m sure.”


“Uh-huh, okay,” Steven says.


“If you’d like for me to go through that information with you, I could,” Matt says, sounding a bit more curt than he did at the beginning of the conversation, and I wonder if he realizes that Steven and I are onto him.


“Uhhhhhhh, you know what? Not really. No,” Steven says.


“Okay, bye.” Matt says, quickly hanging up the phone.

Unfortunately Matt (if that was even this guy’s real name) hung up before we even got the chance to ask some of the important questions in this case, questions like:

“How did you get Steven’s name and mailing address? And how exactly did Steven get selected to win this prize?”

“What is the name and contact info of the travel agency in Lincoln?”

“Can we speak directly to Vice President Marcia Oneal? And just what exactly is she Vice President of?”

And perhaps the most important question, “How many people really fall for this scam?”

I’m guessing that once Steven calls and these people realize that he is not going to fall for their devious plan, that his name and phone number is erased from their list and perhaps even flagged so he is not contacted again (and perhaps even to alert the scammer if he tries to call again). Just for giggle though, I may try calling again tomorrow from my phone, just to see who answers.

Classic Steven “Can you believe this bullshit?” face.

Today’s 365 Project is dedicated to those dedicated scammers. I wish I had that kind of free time. Lord knows I could put it to better use!

About the Author Lori Romano

I am a writer, photographer, wife, mother, dog owner, half-assed housekeeper and a self-proclaimed coffee and chocolate addict. One day, I will write a book.

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