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Disney Travel Online Informative - If It Sounds Too Good To Be True, It Is

Review by laklisa on 2009-10-06
However, after some research, I was notified it was a scam.

I probably would have fell for it, but the notification was sent in a plain white envelope. The postmark was from Canada, with no return address. That set me on alert.

I got this notice last Thursday, telling me that I had won $38,500 and a free trip to one of Disney's resorts. On top of that, there was a check for $3860 to help offset the cost of the Legal Prize Sweepstakes Affidavit. They included in the letter that this lawfirm (gave name of the lawfirm) was used to help complete the transaction. They gave me a contact name and contact phone number.
They stated that they got my information and entered me from my IP address. No indication as to what date or what website-just one of the sites that is affiliated with Disney that I visited.

I did a phone/address reverse look up thru whitepages.com. The phone number was a cell in Toronto, Ontario. The address was not found in USPS or Mapquest.
The checks were issued by New York Community Bank, in Westbury, NY. There is not even a branch in Westbury!

The lawfirm is a valid lawfirm...but they mainly deal with real estate.
I contacted the lawfirm and they emailed me back stating that it was a scam and to contact the Florida Attorney General. I got a phone number and will contact them tomorrow while off work.

I just wanted to pass this along and hope that it helps someone if they get it.
Comments:33 Replies - Latest reply on 2009-10-06
Posted by goduke on 2009-10-06:
Thanks for the great info. I'm sure Disney is aware that someone is using their name, but you might want to reach out to them as well so they can apply pressure to get it shut down.
Posted by Slimjim on 2009-10-06:
Good post and worthy info to get out there for anybody else who got this offer and is doing some investigating.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-06:
You might want to take the check to the bank it was drawn off of so they can make notes on the account (assuming the account is legit. which in most cases like these, it is) stating that there's fraudelent checks floating around that they need to be aware of.
Posted by laklisa on 2009-10-06:
The lawfirm I contacted said that they have notified Disney about it as well, so they are aware.
Posted by laklisa on 2009-10-06:
That sounds like a good idea bearkat, however I am in Mississippi and the banks are in New York. :) I thought about calling them as well, but they probably wouldn't release any info to see if it was a valid checking account number or not.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-06:
Right. The most they would do would tell you the account is open and active. Doing things over the phone gets sketchy. But, if you mailed the check into the branch with all the information and explaining what you just explained here, perhaps they'll look into it from that point on and things will be stopped on their end as well. Doesn't hurt to try the phone first and then mail later.
Posted by JR in Orlando on 2009-10-06:
Its so funny. People want a trip to Disney World, and for me that would be a city bus pass, yet I still haven't gone in years. I read Disney really makes its money off the food, souveneir and hotel costs, not so much on admission.

It really is a great place for fun. Bring your wallet, as they say what comes to Orlando, stays in Orlando.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-06:
I never been to Disney land or Disney world. Sounds really expensive from what people tell me.
Posted by JR in Orlando on 2009-10-06:
It is.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-06:
It *can* be Wally. But, every time I've gone; Disney had some sort of package deal going on that made it less expensive. Going to Disney isn't some "on the fly" thing. It's something that takes quite a bit of money saving and quite a bit of planning in advance.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-06:
wally, I've heard it's best to go during off season--not summer or spring break, nor around the holidays. I'll bet a good time to go is January/February or late September thru early November. It's cooler then too. Everyone should go to Disney World or Disneyland once in their life. It's a total fantasy. We used to take our kids every year and we also always enjoyed it as adults. They have good memories of it (and so do we).

As a child, I lived nearby enough that we were able to go to Disneyland a couple of times a year. Those were the days when it was much cheaper though and we had company nights that were even less.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-06:
Same here Kia. My dad worked for General Dynamics. At least once a year they closed the park after 8pm and we got full reigm of the place until about 4 or 5am. It was great. Dang... that was a LONG long time ago!
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-06:
Hi John! Someone we knew worked for Hughes Aircraft. The lines were so short on those nights. Later on, my brother-in-law was an engineer for Disney. Then we even got in free with the kids and were able to see many of the back-lot stuff which wasn't allowed to anyone else at the time. We were sad when he quit, LOL.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-06:
LOL Hughes ended up buying General Dynamics. Those were the days. I wonder if any companies still have those types of all night events. If they do I'm sure it costs a pretty penny to pull it off.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-06:
Yes, Kia, the best time *is* to go during the off season. Less crowded, less hot. I went during their off season but during their Halloween celebration last year. It was mid September. Spent aabout two weeks there, managed to see everything.
I don't have children, it was just my bf (at the time) and myself. We went 2 years ago, during summer break, and that was a nightmare. So, never again will I go during the summer. Way too crowded, way too hot. But, it was during Star Wars weekend (that part was cool).

It's always good to plan everything, at least, a year beforehand. Especially, if you want to eat at a lot of the restaurants they have like Cinderella's castle, The Brown Derby and other places. They require, at least, 6 months in advance to reserve a time and date with them. The website explains it more. Getting advanced booking, packages, saving enough money for souveneirs and extra yummy food; getting on the dining plan saves money (more so if it's included in the package).
And staying in one of the Disney resorts saves money and time. While taking their busses back at the end of the night may be a little crowded, saves on having to pay for a taxi or parking (if taking your own car).
Posted by Slimjim on 2009-10-06:
We are going down to Disney World this year for Halloween. We got these special (and expensive) tickets so the kids can trick or treat right in the Magic Kingdom.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-06:
Halloween is so awesome there!
Trick or treating was fun.
There's no lines to any rides. Some of them, you don't even have to get off of, you just keep riding and riding them.
You get an armband to wear. People dress up in costumes. The decorations are super cool. I loved going there on Halloween.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-06:
Slim, that sounds like a good time and it's definitely something the kids (and you) will remember. I was just telling my hubby the other day that I want to go. He wasn't too excited, but I can always go with my sister, who lives in Huntington Beach.

bkk, I've never been to Disney World because we always had family on the west coast, even when we didn't live there. Only stayed in a hotel once--but it was off season so the price was reasonable. Either way, you just have to plan on spending a bit of money if you want to do everything, but off-season is definitely more affordable (and cooler, like you said).
Posted by JR in Orlando on 2009-10-06:
Knowitall2: You are right about off-season. I like the mid-September to mid-November time period - between when the kids go back to school and Thanksgiving. Right after New Years is good also, but in February we start to run into the Daytona 500 and bike week people who come over as part of their trip, then spring breakers. There is also about a month long period from late April to late May, depending on when Easter occurs. This gap, between spring break and when kids get out of school can be nice too with good weather.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-06:
That's probably great info for people planning a visit, JR, especially since you live there. VH!
Posted by Eloise on 2009-10-06:
Laklisa, I'm so sorry that you were taken advantage of, but from the title it sounds like Disney scammed you. I used to work in Disney reservations and I can tell you that we took our job very very seriously. I'd hate anyone to think that Disney was not behaving a reputable company. Sometimes people just read the title. Of course once you read it is evident that Disney was not to blame. Would you consider changing the title of your review so that it doesnt have Disney's name in the title. Thanks for thinking about it!

If anyone wants to know anything about Disney World drop me an IM. I know just about anything and everything about Disney World Parks & Resorts!
Posted by jktshff1 on 2009-10-06:
great head's up laklisa!!!! VH
Posted by laklisa on 2009-10-06:
Eloise- well actually I was not "taken advantage of", I was very suspicious and did a lot of research. I never contacted the number they had listed.
I would not have a problem at all changing the title, but its part of the scam letter I got...However I am open to suggestions on changing the title?
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-06:
Laklisa, I think you should leave the title alone since it was part of the scam. It will catch the attention of the people you were trying to help.
Posted by Eloise on 2009-10-06:
You could list the name of the business. Disney Travel is part of Disney World, and Disney didn't have anything to do with it.

'I Was The 2009 Travel Passport Cash Giveaway Winner!, NOT'
just an idea.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-06:
I agree with KIA, don't change the title.
Posted by Eloise on 2009-10-06:
Whatever.
Posted by laklisa on 2009-10-06:
No offense Eloise, I think I will leave the title as is. But thanks for the suggestion!
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-06:
yes, leave the title as is.

great review, laklisa. very helpful.
Posted by Eloise on 2009-10-06:
No problem laklisa. I hope no one thinks the REAL Disney Travel tries to scam people.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-06:
eloise, I'll bet most people know that Disney isn't out to scam anyone. This is just a good heads-up for the unaware. Besides, Disney is able to suck enough money out of people with no scam at all, lol. And, we all willingly, happily pay for the fantasy of it all.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-06:
Thank goodness you were smart enough NOT to fall for it. Do you know how many people DO? People cash those checks then get stuck paying the money back to their bank.
Posted by Ytropious on 2009-10-06:
Any time you get ANYTHING that says you won something you never physically signed up to win is a scam. It's always a scam in some form. I went to Disney world once 9 years ago and it was real fun, but we went in August and it was hot and crowded. The BEST place to go off season is Niagara falls. Sure it's cold, but hubby and I went there in March and the entire city felt empty, it was like our playground. And we got a huge suite overlooking the falls for half the cost of the tourist season price. I'd definitely go back in the winter again, nothing more romantic then a nice cozy warm room overlooking the falls with no grubby tourists and their families spoiling it.

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