Scammers are getting bold.

Illustration for article titled Scammers are getting bold.

A little bit ago was Atlanta’s pride parade and I went with that girl I’ve been seeing. We both went to a booth for a travel agency and they were having a contest to win a free trip for two to Disney World. I asked them if there was a catch, and they said right to my face that they’re only doing it to get their name out there and they wouldn’t contact anyone except the winner. So, we entered. Fast forward to the other day, and I get a call from an unknown number. I expect it to be one of the jobs I’ve applied to, but then they ask “is this Evelyn?” I apply to jobs with my birth name, so I was confused, but I said yes. “Congratulations! You recently signed up for our contest at Pride and we’re calling to let you know that you were selected as our winner!” My heart stopped for a second. It’s not like I’ve been dying to go to Disney World, but any free vacation is a good one. They went on for a few minutes talking about how I’d get free airfare there and back as well as a $500 Visa giftcard for food and souvenirs. At this point I was beyond excited. God knows I could use that money. But then they went on to tell me I’d be departing on a cruise immediately after my stay in Orlando. That wasn’t mentioned at Pride, so I’m confused again, but I’ll take it. A few more minutes go by as they discuss all the stops that the ship will make and all the amenities I’d be getting, like another $200 in alcohol vouchers. So I’m excited again.


Then they ask for my credit card number. I ask what the deal is and they tell me there’s a $99 booking fee for myself and my guest. I tell them I don’t drink, so they can keep the vouchers and use that to cover it. It doesn’t work that way. Obviously I know it’s a scam at this point, but I try again: “So why are you paying thousands for me to go on a cruise but you can’t cover an extra hundred bucks?” There’s a moment of silence before they make up some BS that I don’t even remember. So I tell them I left my card at home and I’ll call them back when I have it. That’s not gonna happen.

Really, I'm only mad that they chose such a wholesome event to do their shady stuff. It makes me question the credibility of the other booths. How many of these random churches are only claiming to be welcoming to get us through the door and then "save" us? How many businesses are just preying on a vulnerable crowd for information to sell?

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