Have I really won a trip, like the recording on my answering machine says?

OK, bear with me. There is a legitimate question here.

Got home from work yesterday to find the following recording:

“This is Rob Trent with the Award Verification Office. You’ve recently been registered to receive a full Round Trip Airfare Package. It’s very important that you contact my office within the next 48 hrs to confirm your entry. We’ve been trying to reach you on various occasions and its real important that I talk with you. My # is 1-800-XXX-XXXX, and I’m at extension XXX. That number again is 1-800-XXX-XXXX, ext. XXX. My name is Rob Trent. Thank you.”

Now, there is this very strong feeling I have that this is a scam, or at the very least, a telemarketer trying to get me to buy something, while using the pretense of possibly awarding me a prize. After all, he didn’t mention my name, and his claim that he’d been trying to reach me in the past doesn’t ring me as true, as this was the first message left. Indeed, the message seems to really be geared to get me to hurry up and call back, esp. with the 48 hr deadline.

However, there are a few things which almost strike me as being unusual about this, and make me think there might be a slight chance it is legitmate: I’ve never had a telemarketer actually leave a message on my answering machine, much less give me the toll-free number and his personal name and extension number. Also, the reality is that I do tend to enter a lot of contests, but mostly online, and I almost always write down my name and address, as well as my phone number and email. So it’s possible this is legit, but then, wouldn’t he have known my name. And the term “Prize Verification Office” reeks of not being real.

Now I know, I could solve this by simply calling back, and I’m sure I will, but just wondered if anyone else has had similar calls before? Also, should this be a scam, or the guy trys to fish for information like my credit card number or something, I’ll know they’re up to no good, but then is the guy’s recording any kind of evidence I should save?

Anyway, that’s my dilemma…

Short answer: IT’S A SCAM!!!

Nobody ever wins a contest they didn’t enter.

However, the idea that you might is what lets these people get their foot in the door. There are many things they could do after that.

Typically, they’ll do a “bait and switch”, where they’ll get you all involved in the process but have some “last minute administrative expenses”. These will continue and continue until you finally tell them to go away. Result: they profit.

If you finally threaten to sue them, they might set you up in a cheap motel in Buffalo, with air travel provided by Billy Bob’s Crop Dusting and Parachuting Service.

I recommend that you visit http://www.stopscams.com and http://www.scambusters.com. I’m sure they’ll have something about amazing contests.

Aww, sweetie, if you fall for this, then I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I can let you have, wholesale.

If and when you really do win a legit contest, they send you a letter, snail mail. They do NOT rely on an answering machine, 'cause they’ve got the Feds peeking over their shoulder to make sure they aren’t reselling the prizes under the table and keeping the change.

This is one canny telemarketer–your whole post reeks of “sucker”, as in, “you fell for it hook, line, and sinker”. You’re curious, you WANT to be persuaded that it’s legit. P.T. Barnum said it best: “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

You NEVER get something for nothing. Babe, if a thing seems too good to be true–IT IS.

There, I’m all done yelling at you. :slight_smile: Now go erase your answering machine tape before it makes you crazy.

Another possibility:

Do you by any chance have an arrest warrant? That’s one trick a lot of police departments use to try to trick people into showing up, rather than serving a warrant. They call you up with some neat-o sounding prize, you go to collect, they slap the cuffs on you.

I guess they operate on the assumption that people aren’t very bright. I guess that’s a good assumption, since they catch a lot of people that way.

Duck Duck Goose:
Hey, what’s the big idea? That’s MY bridge you’re trying to sell!!! :slight_smile:

My mom got a call like this once. Out of curiosity, she called. Turns out, they had rooms reserved for her at some resort in Florida and all she had to do was pay for the plane ticket down there (from them) OR SO THEY SAID. It was some “special deal” and if she didn’t “act now”, they’d have to pass it on to the next lucky sucke…er, winner.

She called a legit travel agent and the agent told her it was usually a dumpy motel and may have some kind of sales pitch for condos or what-not attached to it.

She didn’t take it obviously.

Alzarian - Let’s look closely at this message. I’ll provide the translation.

Here are two useless pieces of information designed to make this message sound legitimate.

By “recently been registered” we mean your name was next on the phone list we bought. By “full round trip airfare package” we mean that if you will pay 17 times the going rate to stay at one of our properties we will furnish you with one coupon theoretically good for the plane ride. The coupon cost us $10 and is so full of restrictions you couldn’t possibly use it. But you haven’t even won that yet. You’re just almost registered. Read on.

In order to be really registered for this worthless prize, you must listen to my sales pitch. I’m very good at high pressure sales and know that the “48 hour deadline” will heighten your anticipation.

By “you” we don’t mean you specifically or we would have sent you a letter and used your name. We really mean “a sucker like you”. By “important” we don’t mean important to you, we mean important to me. My commision depends on it.

This method (“that number again is…”) works well for late night TV ads, so we us it here as well.

Well, not my real name. You don’t think I’d give you my real name, do you? Rob Trent is a code name. When the phone answerer hears you ask for Rob Trent he knows that there is a sucker on the line. It probably clues him in to which scam you’re being suckered by. We have several running simultaneously and it can get confusing, you know.

Again, not you specifically, but you meaning “sucker”.
Run, don’t walk, to your answering machine and erase that message. Deal ignorance another blow.

AFAIK, the best you can hope for with one of these prizes is “free” lodging or airfare, which is highly restricted, as pointed out above. You have to go at some awkward time, usually very close to the date you found out about your “prize,” and on a weekday. If the prize is lodging, you have to pay for travel, and vice versa. You also have to sit through a long and extremely hard-sell session pushing time shares or some such.

When we were younger and slightly stupider, my husband and I pursued one of these things to the point of going to the seller’s office, where they informed us that we had to write them a check for $20 for fees or something, at which point we turned around and walked out.

At worst, this is an illegal scheme to obtain your money or credit card info, or to ensure you’ll be out of the house when the robbers arrive.

In either case, just hit delete, and save some money for a real vacation.


“You’ve recently been registered to receive…” is not at all the same as “You’ve been awarded…”. Registered just means your name was dropped into a pot, if that.

It sound most like a time share scam to me.

My wife and I actually signed on to one, only to decide to cancel. Man was that a pain! In Virginia, you only have 3 business days to cancel such a contract. We had to priority mail / register / certify our cancellation paperwork and call them a zillion times to make sure they got it in time.

Every time I’ve left a time share sale, I redo the calculations and can’t figure out how this whole deal was supposed to save me money on my vacations.

Cynics, each and every one of you!! Have you no faith in your fellow man!!??

Now, Alzarian, you get on that phone right now and call that nice young gentleman. Be very receptive to any “special offers” he has. Be sure to have your credit card number available. This man is looking out for your best interests. He wants to give you something for practically nothing! How can you pass up such a deal?

Again, get on that phone and call now. Operators are standing by.


Rob Trent

Re: Time share sales.

An acquaintance of my parents used to employ the following method.

He was an elderly gentleman, retired, living in Southern California, so he would get many offers of the kind “Come down tour our complex, attend a 1-hour presentation, and you will get a free TV”. Since he was a sucker for freebies, he would go down there, visit the timeshare, get a free lunch, etc… When it came time to the 1-hour presentation (usually 1 on 1 in a tiny office with a salesman ready for the hard pitch) he would take off his hearing aids and put them on the desk in front of him. After 1 hour he would put them back in and walk away with his free TV.

According to him, several salespersons gave up after the first 15 minutes of the presentation and told him he could leave.