A nice lady who called herself Ashley rang me today. Ashley, who claimed to work for a Florida company called Best US Promotions (please have a look at our web site at www.bestusvacations.com
, sir), informed me that I'd just won a free Bahamas cruise!
She talked fast and the phone line was pretty bad, but basically I was the lucky winner of not only a free Bahamas cruise (3 days), but also a week at Disney World, 2 days in Daytona, and another 2 in Fort Laudardale. With all, or at least most, expenses paid (the exact terms of my dream vacation escape me for the moment; like I said, the phone line was bad and she talked fast). The whole thing really sounded too good to be true.
And it was. After a description of my up-and-coming vacation (with my family, of course), I was switched to another nice lady who wanted my name, address, phone number, and... VISA card number.
I told her that this I didn't like, but she assured me that it was OK. I was protected, they'd tape the conversation (sic),
and she fully understood my scepticism. She would react in the same way. Oh good, I said. Would she send me a detailed agreement with all the necessary information through snail mail? No sir, that is not possible. We only have three cruises left and there are others who will surely accept the terms without this kind of complication. And anyway, I'm insured through VISA, don't I know that?
That's funny, I told her. VISA's quite explicit about this kind of thing. You must never reveal your credit card number through a phone line. Never. And so I won't do it, free cruise or not.
She became upset. If you don't know the terms of your international credit card, sir, she said, you shouldn't be allowed to use one. Again, I said thanks but no thanks, so she hung up on me.
After telling my wife that I just said no to a free Bahamas cruise, I checked Ahley & Co's phone number (I have one of those thingies that log incoming phone numbers), and sure enough, the call was from Israel, not Florida:
If you get a call from them, hang up.
The web site, I found out, was registered by Domains by Proxy, Inc., a Scottsdale, Arizona company that helps domain owners conceal their identities from the public by registering their domains
in the name of Domains by Proxy. They've helped quite a few, from fake talent hunters to, well, fake travel lotteries.
A Google search (scam+travel+US+Promotions
) also explained how this kind of scam works
. It's a shame, though; I could have used a vacation.