Marketing by Deception (Once Again)

Edit: A recent comment indicates that these bottom-feeders have changed their name to “PVS LLC,” but are still sending out basically the same letter. Also operating as “TCU 100” in New Mexico and elsewhere. Beware.

“You are a Finalist in our 2016 Toyota Prius Giveaway!” trumpets the letter.


Notice: They’ve never tried contacting me before, but along with the Washington DC return address, the “Final Attempt” makes the letter seem more urgent.


Cute electronic gizmo and a scratch-off number. Any bets as to whether the numbers match? Pull the tab, scratch the number:


What a surprise!

So I’m guaranteed to win one of those four fabulous prizes. Let’s look at the odds of winning on the fine print:

  1. Prius: 1:180,000
  2. Plasma TV: 1:180,000
  3. Apple iPad Air: 1:180,000
  4. Cruise: 179,997:180,000

If you’ve taken 9th-grade math, you know that it’s a sure thing you’ll be walking away from this experience with a cruise (valued up to $1,900.00).

This promotion is run by “Book and Sea,” a travel club that is using this promotion to “introduce their services.”

When I called the number, the young lady launched into her pitch and told me I’d be winning one of these great prizes, plus up to a $100.00 WalMart gift card. I asked her which prize I had won, and she said that I would only find out about that at the presentation. At this point I hung up.

Based on comments found on the web, it’s just another tired clone of Global Travel Network, about which I have already written:

“It is a 90 minute presentation you must listen to about a travel club and the discount they can give you (after you pay the fee for the membership). The idea is very interesting and the price was about $11,000 for a life time membership and an additional $300 per year fee. If you are interested I would suggest you play the game and say no to them first because they will come down drastically with the dollar amount that you would end up paying . At the end we got our salesman to give us the same deal for $3,775 and he was going to throw in two additional tickets for the cruise. We did not make the purchase however several people did at full price. We walked out with a gift card to walmart, which when I call to et the balance was only $5.00.”

According to the letter, the odds for the $100.00 gift card are 4:180,000, meaning everyone else gets a measly five bucks.


These drones are targeting married couples with a combined income of over $60,000. As I wrote about in my previous post, even the cruise is no “prize” – by the time you pay taxes and other activation fees, you could probably find a flight and cruise as cheaply by yourself on the internet. So if they can sucker three or four couples per presentation to drop $11,000 plus a $300 per year maintenance fee, handing out these worthless cruises and gift cards makes the whole operation a pretty sweet racket.

Stay away from such scummy operators. Anyone who advertises their services with such reckless deception has the morals of a honey badger.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

220 responses to “Marketing by Deception (Once Again)

  1. got my notice the other day. Guess what -my #s matched & I won !!! What a joke . Threw the paper away but was curious so I did a google search to see if there was any info on this farce and found your post. Very funny.

    • Enjoyed your post – I was seduced into scratching the silver ball but then went to google – your notes on the odds were what we needed

      I wish there were a way we could all get together and somehow set a scam trap for these guys – and generate enough to give those taken in some $$$ back

    • Still at it! I received this scam letter yesterday, and almost dumped it, unopened, into the recycle bin. Then I thought, “Why not see what it is?” and I followed instructions, of course the numbers matched as expected. I called to follow through, guard UP, and a very pleasant guy asked me to confirm the numbers and Offer Code. I told him, straight out, that I was highly skeptical of any offer/come-on like this–he was slick! He said “I am, too, and you are right to be skeptical–it tells me that I am speaking with a very intelligent person.” What is that saying about flattery???

      He assured me that this was legitimate, that I definitely had “won” one of the four gift items listed, and that I was one of only 4 winners he had spoken with in about 30 calls. He asked if I was married, and I asked
      What does that have to do with any of this?” He went on to say that the cruise was for 2 people. I said “I never would go on a cruise, free or otherwise.” He continued his smooth talking, and finally said “So, will your husband accompany you on the cruise you just won?” I said “No,” and he hung up.

      My one concern related to having used my phone to call, and having spoken with him on his “recorded line,” was whether I had compromised my privacy or “authorized” anything. I do not think that will be a problem… I think these guys are trying to hook fools, gain commitments, and elicit credit card information.

      Not for one moment was I tempted or a potential victim…I was curious, and that is all.

      • well shit, I just got one today, but after news of bomb attempts in the mail to several people this past week , combined with the knowledge and and pain and trauma from a bad experience the last time I tried to cure a huge curiosity of mine, I think I will pass on the off chance it even is legit and won a car. Besides , as much as I love the teal color of the new 2018 prius, I swore never another toyota again.

    • I got one of these scam notices in the mail today. 5/31/2018
      Thank you to everyone who posted here, you all were very helpful.

  2. I just received my phony bologna letter and figured it was bogus. I didn’t figure that the scratch off number on my letter would match the number on this website !!! Now I just hope they lose lots of money on advertising and on those stupid light up gizmo’s !!!

    • I just got one of those light up gizmos and tossed it in the trash, only to immediately pull it back out and starting to wonder about the proper disposal of those? Is it “electronic recycling”? Regular household recycling like cans and paper? Regular trash?

  3. Thanks for posting about the letter. I received one today and thought I would play the game. The game was shorted lived when she started asking personal questions. I have been to a similar presentation before. I reminds of a timeshare presentation with only a $5 gift at the end. Apparently this works because there are suckers born every minute. If anyone reads blog they will know the truth.

  4. I’ve seen enough of these things to know what a scam looks like, so as soon as I opened the envelope I googled and found your excellently written blog. Thanks for writing this up and sharing it.
    Paul M.

      • Thank you sir for sharing this valuable information on the web. Everything you described & showed was exactly 100% accurate to the “T” as the notice I received in the mail today.
        You saved me a lot of time and spared me from a lot of grief.

    • DITTO! Thank you! I would be angry if Inwere Toyota asI thought it was their promotion originally ( probably all part of the scam). Can they sue for defamation? Probably not eh?

    • DITTO! Thank you! I would be angry if Inwere Toyota asI thought it was their promotion originally ( probably all part of the scam). Can they sue for defamation? Probably not eh?

      On back: “odds of winning cruise 229,997:230,000” AND winners get to pay activation fees etc., Dang, sorry for those 3 losers eh?

      • LOL… That’s what I thought until I realized 2 things: #1. The three “Losers” are actually the winners of the Toyota, the Samsung T.V., and the Apple iPad Air. That’s how the numbers add up to 230,000. But most importantly #2. We are all the Losers because these scammers got our info to send us this junkmail.

  5. Woohoo! Free red LED and pair of LR41 button batteries! They’re not even soldered, just all press-fit inside the plastic case.

    • Got mine this morning. Obvious scam but I was curious. Thanks for the description of Global Travel Network’s process — I’ve always been mildly curious about how these hucksters try to rope people in. Also, for those (like me) who thought they were being cheated by getting only one battery now instead of two, take heart! The battery I got is a CR927, which (according to is a 30 mAh capacity, 3 Volt Lithium/manganese dioxide battery. The old LR41 (according to is 25-32 mAh capacity, 1.5 Volt Alkaline battery, so two of those should be roughly the equivalent of the one new battery we’re getting.

    • exactly! its a cool gadget thought thats only and likely forever in the patent pending stage…but i also thought immed of the overall bogus misleading fluff, then immediately the win of the gadget innerds! those lil batteries are always elusive at the most desperate times, so thx twt,llc idiots! if only the money and creative curtailing thoughts were put to a legitimate, direct, and integral process eh?, just like a typical criminal pattern though-the greed halts the potential- almost just shy of brilliance to billions…what dumbass fools to have gifts that could keep giving, but somehow, they all stop at the corner of dumb fuck and stuck st..

  6. Thanks for posting this information. When I received my envelope in the mail I sense a scam immediately with “Final Attempt” stamped in red along with a presorted stamp. I don’t recall anyone named “Official Document” attempting to contact me before. I also found the signed scribble above “The Manager” in the closing a bit suspicious; like some guy at the bus station opening his trench coat exposing LED code numbers next to a bunch of watches as he says, “Hey, bud, do you want to win a free cruise?”

  7. Thanks for posting it Old Wolf. It saved me some precious time.
    Also, the free LED and couple of LR41 batteries – nicely pointed out by Q – somewhat compensated for the electricity spent in shredding the trashy letter.

  8. Thanks for the post. One upside was that I was able to take apart the little gizmo and get two new batteries that look like they’ll fit my watch and a working red LED

    • I just got one of these scam letters today. I found this blog and decided to open the device (a long skinny one) to get at the button battery(ies). The batteries (two of them) are stamped “AG3 Button Cell”. Of greater value to me is the small LED used to light the number on the gizmo. It is just the right size for a backup light on one of my HO gauge model railroad engines! I just need to see what voltage and current they are rated for in order to compute the needed value of dropping resistor. Think I might get another letter to get another LED for my collection?

  9. Thanks much, Old Wolf! This scam is still making its way through the U S mail.
    Got my free LR41 batteries on Aug. 8, 2016.

  10. Thanks everybody. I got my free batteries today. I didn’t even think about taking the gizmo apart until I read these posts.

  11. We received or notice a couple weeks ago. After researching TWT and finding this blog, we felt that we went to the presentation well informed.It was a good sales pitch by Tony from New Jersey. There were 3 couples there; two of them bought the program. We didn’t. Tony said in the presentation that they weren’t selling any travel deals that you couldn’t find on your own after searching on the Internet. So, I have to say, they were upfront and honest; he was very clear on everything.

  12. >Tony said in the presentation that they weren’t selling any travel deals that you couldn’t find on your own after searching on the Internet.

    Tony was more honest than our presenters.

  13. omg i just got this lettet but now its a 2017 toyota prius which is not out yet…. How can these scams be legal people? Im asking for real, im so angry because they are people out the that will believe this is true….anyone wants i can email you a snap of this letter… Where are these seminars held? Im in Sterling Heights Michigan, 40 min north of Detroit

  14. Just got mine today. Interesting in the fine print is that one of the married couple must age 40-70. My wife and I are not. Not that we were interested. In a former life I sold time share for a few months and quit because I couldn’t sleep at night. Everything is presented in this bizzaro “you’re so special” way. Thanks for posting!

  15. September 12th, 2017

    Dear Diary,

    Today was the best day EVER!! Since you know all of my secrets you know that I been struglin with bein a loser AND bein lonely… Well guess what???? That all ends today!! Thanks to them good folks at TWT, LLC I will finally overcome those two issues (leaving only 61 more to go!). Today I got a fat envelope in the mail with all kinds of pretty colors like ORANGE and RED on it with a real patriotic stamp in the corner! Thank goodness Cletus from next door fixed my screen door so I could get my hover round to the mailbox today cause this was the FINAL ATTEMPT to get a hold of me. You remember Cletus from next door right? He was married to my sisters 3rd husbands niece until they got unhitched and he moved in with his cousin Tammy. They got 3 kids now and they all look so cute when they stand together cause the little helmets they wear all the time make ’em look like a stop light cause ones red ones yella and ones green. Anyway, like I was sayin, I got this envelope that said I might could have won sumthin if my numbers matched this fancy new nightlight they sent me. Well you know what?? IT DID!! That’s right, I aint no loser no more no sir! So that fixed that problem right quick but the best part is what I is fixin to win. I could win a Toyota Prius Hybrid which I don’t understand at all cause from how I reckon that’s why Cletus’s kids all wear them helmets cause my cousin Billy said his kids is hybrid on a count of Tammy bein his relation and all (still not sure what he meant by that). Anyway… I could also win a Samsung 51″ 3D Plasma TV, but you know what Mama always said before that mule kicked her in the head, “Plasma 3D is the DEVIL!! If the good Lord wanted us to watch Plasma in 3D he woulda put us outside to stare at the sun!!” – Mama sure confuses me sometimes. Oh, also I could win a “New Apple iPad Air”… I think that’s some kind of little air mattress for an apple so it don’t get bruised! What will they think of next. Diary, To tell you the truth I am gonna pray night and day that I don’t win one of these prizes cause I want so badly to win the last one.. A “7 night Royal Caribbean cruise with airfare for 2”! Can you image?? This would fix my bein lonely for sure! I was readin the odds of winnin the cruise and it says they is gonna be 237,997 cruise winners!! Woooweee, Ise gonna find me a man for sure on that big ol boat. Oh, I almost forgot! It says I got me a 1 in 10 chance of winnin a $100 gift card to Walmart! Tammy says If I win that I can get me somethin from the “Big Girl Thong Department” they got there at Walmart and still have plenty left over to buy that 50 gallon drum of sunscreen for my cruise! That’s all for now Diary. I gotta go practice drawin my eyebrows back on cause there’s bound to be all kinda reporters gonna wanna talk to me when I win!

  16. Aren’t Lithium batteries to not go in the trash (land fills). Those guys could be in violation of many state laws if they’re not warning people to dispose of their numerical device properly.

  17. Thanks, Old Wolf. My 7 year old can read very well and after going through the whole thing, he was certain that we had won. Now I can show him your post and maybe he’ll finally believe me that the whole thing is a fake. Thank you for summarizing so clearly!

  18. My 10 year old son was convinced that this was real…until we found your article. He now understands that this is a scam. Thanks for taking the time to document it so well!

  19. I received mine today, proving they are still working this one. However they seemed to have “wised up” regarding the batteries… My device had only a SINGLE CR927 battery. Even after not falling for this, thanks to you… I still feel somewhat cheated. Thank you for your info Old Wolf.

  20. Funny my scam sense went off immediately upon seeing this letter, but hey, who can say no to a free Prius Hybrid. And it’s signed by the General Manager, so you know it’s official! See

    Then I think “General Manager of what company?” and looking see there it no company name anywhere. I finally found it in the small print, which lead me to google and find this site.

    Thank you for helping subdue my gullible self!

    • I’m glad you found it useful! Any friend of gocomics is a friend of mine. When I was a kid, I absolutely loved Peanuts; the older I got, the more I realized most of these kids were supremely dysfunctional. I’ve known far too many Lucys in my life.

  21. We attended for the experience. On the phone the recruiter promised at least a $40 Walmart card and $50 extra dining coupons. At the end I got a $5 card and no coupons. The rep said person on the phone made a mistake and they would look right into it. Right! Of course we got the cruise and air tickets, which as mentioned above, is loaded with mandatory fees, e.g., activation, port fees, taxes, etc.

  22. Thanks soo much for the heads up!!! Just got the notice and was unsure enough about it to google it, thats when i found your report. Thanks again!!!!!!

  23. Just got notified that I am a finalist in the 2017 toyota prius hybrid giveaway! Same light up pull tag with number. They are also giving away a Samsung 51″ 3D Plasma TV, Apple IPad Air, 7 night Royal Caribbean cruise with airfare for 2.

  24. Just got my letter proclaiming i had won a car, trip, TV,airline tickets. Thouhgt it was too good to believe. Thanks.

  25. I got a basically the same letter, however the company seems to have changes their name to PVS LLC. I called and was told I could pick any of the 4 prizes listed, sounds fishy, so I google this company, and nothing. I probably would have gone thinking worst case $100 gift card was worth it. I would have been furious if I had waisted my time for $5.00. Thanks for the info!

  26. Got mine today and I’m so excited I’m gonna win a car…what I’m not!!! Oh well maybe next scam. Thanks for the post Wolf-I hope it has saved a few from getting involved. Has anyone found a new use for the little battery powered lED? I’ll keep the batteries, but it seems a shame to throw away the rest if it has any kind of reuse.

  27. Thanks! I Googled Prius giveaway and found your blog post. These mailings are not only deceptive but so wasteful. Really burns my brisket! 😡

  28. I know some other people have mentioned it, but the best part of this letter is not only the signature above a completely ambiguous “General Manager”, it’s that the signature is completely unintelligible. It’s literally just a squiggly line. It doesn’t even appear to be a full name, just one squiggly line with no discernable letters. What a joke.

  29. Thank you The Old Wolf for posting this. You confirmed my suspicions. You saved me that 3% little voice that would have asked “is this legit?”

  30. I just got one of these on the mail, for a 2017 Prius, TV, iPad, or cruise. Odds 1:240,000 & 239,997:240,000

    Thanks for the blog post!

  31. Got one in California April 12, 2017, from PVS, LLC. Phone number to call has changed to 877-353-0567. Thanks for the heads up!

  32. Thanks to The Old Wolf and various respondents…! I usually file these in the Too Good to Be True bucket, but I was curious and Google brought me here.. Thank you for the details – and the laughs..!


  33. Thanks for the info. I knew immediately it was a scam when it requested couples only with $60,000 income. And look at the age group, 40-70. May a bolt of lightning strike them down.

  34. Awesome! Thanks for taking the time to create this page. I just received my letter, it sure was intriguing. I look forward to sharing this letter with my students, I want them to see what scams look like up close.

  35. I always read the fine print, just as you. Got one of these in the mail and searched PVS, LLC and came up with your post. Thanks for the heads up Woffie.

  36. Wanted to keep this thread going for anyone searching. I received this letter today from PVC LLC phone 888-201-4604. Funny thing I’ve been divorced for over 7 years and this was addressed to my previous married last name.

  37. We received our bulky letter today. Also a “final attempt.” Yay. Hubbie thought it was someone from Toyota trying to sell a car. I read the fine print and decided to search PVS,LLC just for the heck of it It was so fun reading these posts. Interesting that they’re still at it after 20 months. Thanks for keeping this up.
    At least I got two AG3 batteries out of it!

  38. Thank you so much for the explanation! I received the identical letter to the one you describe. 10% of me wanted to believe it, but the prudent 90% made me google the company and your post came up. The letter has now found its way to the circular file!

  39. I knew it was a scam but went in anyway just to see if I could scam them back using the ole Flip Flop Routine. I tried to use it on them but they train well but my firm answer was NO give me time to think about it. So then super high pressure they thought by sending in a very attractive saleswoman it would sway me in front of my wife NOPE but I did get her back as she went to get our gifts I followed her to table where they had the winning numbers listed while wife stayed behind at table and said we are now at $3995 for the membership if you give me a BJ, I will buy today she got very angry and slammed my gift vouchers at me and demanded we leave showed me and my wife to elevator and I was grinning ear to ear about it and my wife knew what I was doing LMAO.

  40. Just got one of these for a grand prize of a 2017 Prius so it seems the scam continues. Of course I didn’t believe it so I fired up my favorite search engine and found this. Thanks for sharing your experience. EE

  41. July 2017. They changed their phone number to 888-736-5738 and their corporate name to “TCU 100”. Otherwise the envelope and contents are the same, as is the scan. No originality here. There really must be a sucker born every minute

  42. Thank you for your post; my son was convinced and excited that since he dug the letter out of the trash and “saved it” we should go and bring him home his prize. I now have something to show him rather than going to the meeting he has incessantly been begging us to attend.
    Thank you.

  43. This was fun.Between you and all the people commenting I had a good laugh. Think I owe the folks at TCU 100 something for causing me to find your post.
    As always ,if it sounds too good to be true;well you know what it is.
    Free batteries ( AWESOME)

  44. Just got our letter. Everything is identical or almost identical to what you showed in your writeup above. The only difference is that the company name is now TCU 100.

  45. Got the same letter here in Albuquerque New Mexico today. It is being held all week for the next three weeks at the Embassy Suites Hotel. They are going the extra mile to make you feel like it is not to sell anything, but to use there travel agency, comparing them selves to big name search engines being used on the net for travel booking. Don’t waste your time with this one. All these comments are to save you money and heartache.

  46. Got my letter today, I am in New Mexico, obviously based on another poster they are hitting our state. Googled and found your blog. Sponsored by TC 100 # 877 572 7052.

    • You know, there are people in the world who are that devious. In this case, the circuitry looks too primitive and cheap (read “Chinese”) to perform functions that sophisticated. I think we’re safe for the moment.

  47. I did at least get a couple of free calculator type batteries out of the light up gimmick. A shame that most of them will go straight to a landfill. What a wasteful scam.

  48. Pingback: Marketing by Deception Redux | Playing in the World Game

  49. “TCU 100” is now pulling this scam in Columbus, Ohio. The “V.I.N Gauge” number is 363909, the address is 2415 E Camelback Road in Phoenix (a real address, but a multi-tenant high rise office building), the phone 1-888-408-1198; otherwise the exact same format. Oh, and the idiot light contained two AG3 batteries. As others have said, thanks for this page.

  50. So what exactly are the “activation fees” for the cruise? Never seen an activation fee on a cruise. Yes, you have to pay port taxes on every cruise, and gratuities. This is true no matter where you buy a cruise (they sometimes have tax waivers, or pre-paid gratuities, but both are as specials). Also, why would I be responsible for the deposit? That is part of the base fare.

    I don’t mind sitting thru 90 minutes, if the cruise fare is free. Cruise is typically 7-800 per person, plus tax, plus gratuities. So if the 7-800 is “free” great! If the activation fee is substantial, or the choices are limited, then no dice. I expect the latter.

    So a normal cruise looks like this (average numbers):
    Fare: 750
    Port charges: 300
    Gratuities: 150

    If the “free” is this:
    fare: free
    port charges: 300
    Gratuities: 150
    activation: ?????

    Might still be worth checking out. Write the mileage off as expense.

    • Normal port fees would be $110 / person, but from what I’ve seen elsewhere they jack them up to $249 / person. I haven’t seen anything about an activation fee

      • Actually, here’s the fine print from their mailer: “winners are responsible for any activation fees, deposits, port charges and taxes (approx. taxes and port charges will not exceed $249 total per person, a $50 full-refundable deposit is required. Reservations may require 6 to 18 months advance notice. All travel must be completed withing 24 months of registration. Travel during major US holidays such as Christmas, Independence Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, New Years, Presidents Day and Thanksgiving is not permitted. Flights depart from Sacramento or the San Francisco Bay Area (OAK, SFO or SJC, as assigned) and arrive into Los Angeles (LAX). Valid only for cruise cabin and round-trip airfare. Ground transportation, transfers, gratuities, miscellaneous expenses, hotel stay(s) prior to or after cruise are not included. All reservations are subject to availability”

      • Also the flights are terrible. What should be a 1-hour direct flight they’ve made into a multi-leg journey with layovers and charge even for carry on bags (Spirit Airlines). It appears that this also makes you show up late in the day and they count that as one of the cruise days, eventhough you’re barely on the ship that day. You have to pay an extra $500 for direct flights

  51. Thanks, Old Wolf! In Virginia, they are now mailing the rolled up letter with a fake car key in what appears to be a toilet paper roll with plastic end caps. Fitting for what they are peddling. They have same address with slightly different suite number “Toyota Prius Giveaway, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. SE #434, Washington, DC 20004” and different phone number 1.888.211.0897, but same prizes and chances of winning and General Manager signature, and matching number, etc. On the back it is sponsored by the Kings Creek Plantation, L.L.C., 191 Cottage Cove Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185. So all these sponsoring hotel properties around the country are buying into this deceptive Washington DC marketing gimmick. Your article and astute readers are spot on! It’s deceptive and preys on unsuspecting simple folk that believe they are reading that they are the winner of a lot of good stuff! Thank you again Old Wolf and readers! You are helping so many people save 90 minutes and avoid contractual timeshares (yuck). God bless you all!

    • I live near Spinnerstown, PA. and got the tube yesterday. Same as above, but address on mine is:

      611 Pennsylvania Ave. SE#405
      Washington DC 20003
      phone number: 1.844.261.0000

      complete rules available at:

      Mt. Laurel
      81 Treetops Drive
      White Haven, PA 18661

      Thanks to Old Wolf and other commenters for the ongoing coverage.

      Has anyone on earth ever won a significant prize in a contest they did not enter? Beneficiaries of John Beresford Tipton, perhaps? : )

  52. Yeah I just got this too! But mind came in a little tube box with a key inside! Too bad it’s a scam it would be nice to get this car! Or an of the other prizes!

  53. Got mine today! I’m definitely driving my Prius to the airport so I can go on my 7 night ROYAL CARIBBEAN cruise, where I can watch my 70″ LED SAMSUNG Smart 4k ULTRA HD TV while playing with my New Apple iPad Air! I can’t wait!!!!

  54. Received one of these letters today. Prize is not a Prius, but a 2018 Ford F-150 with TCU 100 as the sponsor (address listed is in Phoenix AZ).

    Thank you to everyone for the information posted here. I was skeptical to start with, but all of these comments reinforced my skepticism.

  55. Got mine in Tucson, AZ, day before yesterday and almost forgot about it. Called them to have my contact details removed the way I do with all junk mail when I was given the spiel by a guy named John Warren. I may have gone to the presentation out of curiosity had I not stumbled upon this site.

    RED FLAGS: 1. OFFICIAL DOCUMENT. Official, how? 2. FINAL ATTEMPT. Implying previous attempts of which there were none. 3. Regards, illegible squiggle, General Manager – the General Manager obviously doesn’t want to be identified in legible print. 4. Absence of a clearly visible company name/logo and website!!

    I am a grand prize winner (one of 4 grand prizes – A Ford Pickup or $30 000.00 cash being the first prize). Winning number (a perfect 6 digit match)? You guessed it – 363909!

    Address: 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. SE #434, Washington, DC 20004
    Phone: 1-888-741-4408

  56. I just received this (a pre-sorted stamp, really?) and went straight to the fine print on the back. As old hands at the time-share scheme, this didn’t even rate a phone call! I was very happy to find your blog post and thank you for shedding light on this particular scam.

  57. Got one today, figured it had to be a scam, thanks much for the great post, saved me time in confirming it indeed is a scam. Also for the information in the replies, was just going to toss, but salvaged two batteries and an LED to play with. Winner!

  58. I had three follow-up calls trying to get me to reschedule after I explained that we would not be buying anything ever because we were medically unfit to travel and I requested for our contact details to be removed from their database. One Eric made the final call, very upset for refusing their gift.

    • Hustlers can be extremely persistent and rude. Their raison d’être is getting money from other people, and when their hustle fails they often take it as a personal affront. Thanks for adding to the conversation!

  59. WOW, we were headed to the presentation until why wife decided to google this TCU and see what they were about and then she stubbles across your site and we are glad you had lots to say. Everything you had to say describes our exact letter…. including the winning numbers: 363909 fro the previous posts.. You saved our day, so my wife and I just spent the day together and laughed about how we almost wasted our precious time, thank you so much for your post, well done.

  60. My wife and I just received the same old tired con, in the mail, and the funny
    thing was, it had been opened by someone else, because it was half cut open
    at the stick flap, and then taped shut again, which was obvious. And the reason
    it must have been opened, was because of the plastic reader card inside the
    envelope. WE laughed about the fact that someone at the post office must have
    thought they scored and realized it was a nothing letter, and taped it back up…
    And when we saw this scam, we went on the internet and found this gem of a
    reality of awareness of that it truly is, and we thank you for the information and
    all the fun responses, it seems that this is such a scam that it should be illegal?
    This trick letter contest is going from 12/2017 to march 2018.
    When you read the fine print it spells out what the con is, in the 3 hour tour, like Giligan’s Island, & you got more from that show that this one could ever give you!
    Deception is a must in this business, if folks knew what they were getting into, then
    some would still do this crap, so the percentages are with the house in this gamble,
    and folks will utilize their iota number to travel, & as one reply pointed out, you can
    find better deals everywhere on the internet, & not pay the high price for membership. The folks that do this must be sick over it, their is a 3 day right of recession in most states, or all of them, where this is allowed, as they eluded to.
    So, buyer beware, is probably what they use in any court case with buyers remorse, or they just stay very quiet and realize they were taken advantage of, big time! What a sad commentary, & all they have gone to do this is appalling to see.
    So, this is what they call a fun way to promote travel, & pad the pockets of the company and the sales force, it reminds me of timeshares & is like car salesmen, who will say & do anything to get you to purchase their promotion.
    Thanks for the forum, maybe some other perspective buyers will read your replies and check this out first….”IGNORANCE IS CONDEMNATION WITHOUT INVESTIGATION.”

    • Thank you very kindly, I’ve already got some interesting feedback which lets me know that some people have indeed benefited from this post and save their money. That makes the whole thing worthwhile. I appreciate your comment.

  61. Received one of these a couple years ago and saved the gizmo for the batteries. If you save those button batteries, you know how you almost never find something again that uses that size. Well, a couple of months ago, I did find something that needed one, and I felt so vindicated! Last week, we received another letter with the exact same gizmo, right down to the winning number, 363909, so more batteries. Thank you for the post. I had forgotten why we didn’t respond to the offer last time.

      • My 76 year-old Mom told me she had received the letter and realized it was a scam, but only after it had caught her eye and she’d wisely caught the glaring giveaways that it’s a scam. It scares me because of the vulnerability faced by the senior population and I despise these people for targeting the 40-70 group and mailing it to her directly. Then again, the letter is such grammatical nightmare that you wonder how people at that level of inability have it together enough to organize the scam in the first place.

      • I agree completely. It is largely because my elderly mother was taken advantage of by scammers that I began a campaign to educate the elderly and their Guardians against all kinds of fraud. Thank you for your comment!

  62. I called and President Trump answered to offer me a post in his cabinet in return for a small consideration.

  63. The scam hit Rochester NY today. Now it’s a rectangle case with a small gel sheet with that familiar 363909 six digit winning number. It opens up easily to indeed reveal two LR 41 batteries. But they are cheap Chinese kind, which means that after within an hour of first illuminating the number, the batteries were both dead. At least keep it classy with decent batteries. I love the imprint on the back warning that tampering with the AUTO VIN GAUGE ™ (Patent pending too… ooh) will result in deactivation. That would probably be because the batteries will fall out if you open it.

    More amusing is you are supposed to bring it with you to wherever for verification, but the batteries would have long since died. But no matter, they can safely predict your six digit number avoid the embarrassment when those who do show up discover they all have the same number.

    Somewhere in China there is a factory producing millions of these landfill polluters.

  64. I spent some time deconstructing the letter. Either it is fairly clever or I am not since it took me a couple of reads and flipping back and forth to finally grasp the details. With no further ado …

    1. The gizmo and scratch will always turn the recepient into a winner of … The GRAND PRIZE, which is participation in a lottery where the player will win one of four prizes.

    2. Three of the prizes have value that total about $31,000. The odds in my letter were 1/110,000 per prize so on average each player wins about 30 cents. To collect the 30 cents the player and significant other must supply personal information and attend a 90 minutes sales pitch for a travel membership club.

    3. The travel prize is given to the other 99.998% and is best described as a discount on a trip. The letter did not provide details of the trip cost before discount but it is a pretty sure thing that the offer is not competitive.

    So what is in it for the organizers of this game ?
    I doubt people buy the trip, but perhaps that is a small profit to the organizers if it happens.
    The travel club membership smells like a time-share type deal. BIG profit, even if only a few people buy in.
    Information. The organizers now have a very detailed and highly selected database of vulnerable people they can use for other games or sell.

  65. Thanks for the info: Old Wise Wolf
    Their at it again this time carson city nv.
    The internet is nice to be able to find out about these scams.
    2 free crappy batteries woohoo

  66. Wow! Thank you for this wonderful, informative post. I almost got suckered into this scam. And, here I am thinking it looks interesting. Darn. My Masters Degree really didn’t help much, but your blog certainly did. THANK YOU!!

  67. We went to the sales pitch/seminar. Limited to just seven couples (suckers?). Of course, we “won” the “free cruise and airfare” which only needed to pay around $200 to be further scammed. We actually won a $5 Walmart gift card. After saying “I’m doubtful” to three different salesmen we received their rock bottom price of $4739 down from $11,743 which was the fee for lifetime membership in their travel ‘club’. After we rejected their most generous offer, they left us alone and we hastily departed. The other six couples were still being pitched. Probably, at least one or two couples signed up, so the salesmen may have made their quota for the day..Stay far away from this scam.

  68. Glad I found you! Thank you so much for this info. I received a letter today exactly how you show it, except this letter is the 2018 version. Thanks again!!

  69. I just got one today in California. I got no farther than scratching the number, which seemed harmless and just confirmed my suspicions. I smelled something rotten and my first guess at a web search was perfect: “ATN prius giveaway” gave me your post as the first suggestion.

    Thank you very much.

  70. We got to the presentation too late yesterday and left the hotel. (Relief for me) They called today and upped the gift card to $200 and rescheduled with my hubby. Now I’m not into this thing at all but the old man swears he’ll get something. I swear it’s a waste of time! Stay tuned. It’s a week away now. I am not buying anything, except messing with them. Why does the old man drag me to these things so I’m the detractor? I’m NOT spending a cent!

  71. August 29 2018

    Living in Menlo Park California and we just received one of those Finalist letters today exactly as you explained it.

    Thanks for your post on the internet

    Tony S

  72. It’s been YEARS I guess and they are still at it. Thank you, thank you, thank you for identifying this as a scam and offering us protection. May God bless you all and give you a REAL treasure….Kathy

  73. haha just received this identical letter. Knew it was a scam called anyway . Slick player attempted to get me to commit to a time slot in my area to listen to their drivel. Hung up . LOL

  74. Got ours today. So exciting to be a winner! Guess I’ll buy lottery tickets, invest in penny stocks and go play the ponies since I’m so lucky!

  75. Got the same letter but from ATN. I figured that I had a 1:10 chance to win the $100 Walmart card but I noticed that many said that they got only $5 and sure enough, my letter says “up to” $100. The buzzards. I saw ahead of time that “winners are responsible for activation fees” and did the search to find out what they were. Led me to this page. They’re harder to track since they change their “Doing Business As” name every year.

  76. But I’m puzzled. Don’t you get the cruise and airfare even without buying anything? You said that you left with only the $5. Others said that they left with the cruise and airfare but were responsible for port charges, which you would have to pay anyway.

  77. The same scam is running out in southern California by ATN. First in Temecula and then in Carlsbad where we were finally able to go to their presentation. The only reason why we went, was before the date of the presentation, I received a call from a guy to confirm we were going to show up. He asked me to read off the “Winning” numbers and congratulated me on the fact that I would be receiving an “Apple Air”, which would be a great gift for my grand daughter.

    Same pitch as everyone else describes, started at $11,000, they came down to $4,300.00. They were even going to put me in contact with their “friend” who is not affiliated with their company, but that he could list our time share in Carlsbad for $300.00 and it was a very desirable property. He knew everything about it from ground breaking to present time, almost like he was reading it off the internet….hum maybe?

    We declined their generously discounted offer after the heavy hitter came in with the slashed prices and put us on the phone with his “special broker connection”.

    The prize rewarding event was just as disappointing, the “Apple Air” turned out to be a FREE CRUSE! After we declined the cruse reward, because it’s not what we were promised, they offered up the Walmart gift card. My wife asked what its value was, he stated between $65.00 and $85.00. I verified its value at Walmart at $5.00. That’s $1.25 per person per hour to sit through this high pressure pitch that we tolerated for two hours.

    We called the number on the “Prius Giveaway” golden ticket (Marketing provided by “LogiCall” out of Phoenix and Tempe, AZ). They repeated that no one could tell you what you were going to win over the phone. Despite my experience with the Bate and Switch on the prize, the representative supposedly went through all seven recorded calls and stated that she heard me telling one rep that I had been promised the Apple Air prior to my appointment. No recorded calls from them contained the man congratulating me on my impending winning of the Apple Air.
    I can only surmise that one of the sales team called me to ensure that we were going to attend with the Apple Air bate. ATN points their finger at LogiCall who points their finger at ATN sales personnel. Giving them all plausible deniability all the way around.

    I believe they (ATN) are tied into, trained by and part of the pyramid scheme of World Ventures .com since the same “you should be here” blue sign graphics that are used in the presentation as presented on the World
    They have this scam down to a fine oiled machine with every one feeding off of us, John Q. Public to line their pockets.

  78. Now using the name ATN at #434. It doesn’t say what ATN stands for but judging by the chances of winning a cruise…I’d say it stands for Something Travel something. Lol

  79. Got my 2 batteries today, also. I don’t know if any of you noticed the back side of the letter, under the supposed ‘terms and conditions’, but it clearly states “In the event of print/mechanical errors or duplicate winning numbers distributed in error, the number match contest is void and no prizes will be awarded.” That right there is how they get out of awarding the Prius, $30K , Samsung 70″ TV and the Apple iPad Air! What a ridiculous scam!

  80. Scam still going strong into Feb 2019. Different car, and now the Walmart gift card is purportedly $200, but I am sure there isn’t anymore than $5 on that after all is said and done. My husband wants to go, anyway, and says he’s going to demand 39 more gift cards until we get to the $200 they promised lol. He’ll love the part about free batteries/LED though, hadn’t thought about that!

  81. I pried open that little device, and kept the two button batteries which might be useful for me in the future.

  82. Got a very similar letter today from “QM Corporation.” My husband was almost taken in but I immediately assumed it was some kind of come-on. Thank you for keeping people informed about this kind of sleazy marketing tactic. It does say on the bottom of the back “This advertising material is being used for the purpose of soliciting sales of time shares in Nevada”

  83. I just received this envelope in MD today. I threw it in trash thinking an envelope bomb or something. What got my spidey senses going was it had to me or current resident. ??????!!!!!! Who the heck and u want me to open this junk. Nah I’m good.

    • I just got these same numbers in a June 2021 mailing with the Tesla as being the big prize. Too bad I’ll be missing out on my cruise and hotel voucher.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s