Is this a scam and how does it work?

I got a phone call from these people tonight. They had called about two weeks ago and said I had won some sort of prize. My wife may have entered me into some drawing a few months ago but she doesn’t think that she did. The weird thing is that the number they called is my cell. I can’t imagine how they got my info.

They are telling me that all I have to do is go to Williamsburg to claim my prize and I can stay in their resort for a night. The prize is $500.00. The catch is that they want a $25.00 refundable fee on my credit card. I don’t give my card out especially not to some schmuck that calls me on the phone. I cheerfully lied and said I didn’t have one. I got their contact info and googled them and came up with this info. I also do have a cingular rebate card with about $25.00 so in theory I could take the risk and satisfy my curiousity.

I got their contact info and googled them. Their website calls them an interval vacation resort. A timeshare.

What is the scam here and how does it work? I figure that they are trying to part me from my sweet cash, but I don’t know how and that drives me mad. I need to understand this scam.

Definitely a scam, no doubt about it. Any “prize” that requires money up front is a rip-off of some kind.

Likely, the $500 would be applied to your purchase of a time share. You’d go down there, and they’d spend te whole evening trying to badger you into buying. You’re paying for their sales-pitch.

There was a thread about this a couple of months ago, but…hm.

From what I recall the answers were that:

  1. They are “legit,” and you really do get a “free” trip
  2. However, you have to sit in on some meetings in which they try and pitch the timeshare to you so that you’ll buy it

Both of which items are potentially wrong dependent on my memory.

Of course, neither of those means that this particular outfit isn’t a scam. I’ll look for the previous thread.

Previous threads rather:

Interesting. I’ve been there. I was just a kid though, and we didn’t stay the night.

Colonial Williamsburg is a real, legitimate place, although I don’t know what’s going on with this, it seems to me like one of those timeshare-pitch deals.

It sound rather like the same situation as was described in one of those threads. What made me cagey was that I asked them to send me the info in writing a few weeks ago. Tonight, they said that they had although I’ve seen nothing in the mail. I asked her to resend the info and she said she couldn’t. I may string them along for a few days and give them a fake number or three.

Most vacation spots and tourist destinations have timeshare properties located nearby.

Up front fee = Bad.
Credit card number over the phone = REAL BAD.

You said you told them that you don’t have a credit card. Is it possible that they already know that you do have a credit card, either by having run a credit check on you or by purchasing a mailing list from the credit card company? If so, that may explain their unwillingness to send the literature in the mail.

My general rule is: If you have to ask “Is this a scam?” it probably is.

Christmas Mountain in the Dells pulled crap like that all the time. A letter arrives and says you have won a tv, come to a sales pitch to get it. They had a small disclaimer saying only valid if you earned at least $40,000 a year. I believe it was quite illegal too. In Wisconsin contests have to give out the prizes without you having to purchase anything. I have a lot of fake jem stones that they had to send me, when I didn’t buy a setting to go with the stone. They make nice shiny rocks in an aquarium.

They might be asking for a $25 deposit so they can check out your credit line. They also know that someone is going to show up and sit through the sales pitch, if you give them money you want back.

The $500 dollars is likely a prize you can claim with the purchase of a time share. It’s like food companies that say everyone is a winner and the prize is a coupon good only on a purchase of product.

It could be a different scam but I’ll bet on the above.

I send in money prize claims that want a handling fee back with signed athorization to deduct the $50 fee from the $10,000 prize.

Please send my money imediately I’m broke and not working. I authorize you to deduct your $50 handling fee from the $10,000 You are sending me.

I’ve seen quite a few of these, but I’ve never run into one where they wanted money upfront before. That smells. We’ve stayed in timeshares around Williamsburg, but rented from a friend, never as part of this.

They called me again today. The guy had already changed his pitch slightly. He asked if I was able to procure a credit card. I told him that it just wasn’t going to happen. He hung up quickly. I have one visa gift card with about $40.00 that I could have used but even if it wasn’t a credit scam, I just don’t have the time and inclination to go to Williamsburg this month. I lived there for three years and that was more than enough. Additionally, I have no desire to purchase a timeshare.

And, if you’re like most people, you have absolutely no desire to sit through a timeshare sales presentation. If ever in a moment of weakness you agree to do so, you can be quite sure you’ll regret it.