Travel Scams Are Real: One Person Shares Their True Story

Sacred business man

Recently, a man, whom we’ll call Mario, was scammed. He and his mother were driving to a doctor’s appointment and listening to the radio. While listening, they heard a trivia game on 94.3 with El Genio Lucas.

The game offered a free, all-inclusive paid vacation to the first ten people who called the line and answered correctly. Mario’s mother convinced him to call. Next thing they knew, they were the seventh caller!

Here Is What Happened Next

Mario and his mother were thrilled to win the vacation but were told someone else would contact them.

A few hours later, he received a call from a travel agency called “VIAJE DE LUJO” with a breakdown of his prize. The prize included: a four-day, three-night, all-inclusive paid vacation to either Orlando, Florida or another approved destination.

The trip included a seven-day car rental or the option for a $100 gift card. The travel agency said the only payment needed would be a $399 activation fee for booking the vacation.

If you’re thinking, wait, I thought it was all-inclusive, you’re not alone.

Mario and his mother were excited to hear about the vacation and provided their card information without hesitation. The agency provided a reference number and said someone would call the next day—however, no one called.

After the initial call, Mario researched the travel agency and found multiple complaints on the Better Business Bureau and Facebook with the same story as his. It was a scam, and he had fallen for it!

I’ve Been Scammed

Immediately after discovering the fraud, Mario called Wells Fargo to report the incident and requested to cancel his card and get a new one. However, he did not want to risk his financial security.

Wells Fargo told Mario that he had to wait ten days for the bank to investigate his claim. So, he waited and prayed to get his $399 back.

It Can Happen to Anyone

Mario was frustrated that a popular radio station would allow scammers to promote fraudulent activity, given the number of people who trust and listen to the station. Despite ad revenue, radio stations should ensure that their listeners are safe.

Don’t you agree?

Mario’s unfortunate experience is a reminder to be cautious. Do thorough research before making any financial transactions.

Mario asked people online what they thought about the situation. Here is how the internet responded.

I Don’t Think You’re Dumb

“I don’t think you’re dumb at all. It is important for you to share this. You taught me and many others something significant today; I would have had no idea. Sorry people are scammers!”

Hopefully, You’ve Learned from This Experience

“Hopefully, you learned something from this; experience is the best teacher. Unfortunately, there’s no free lunch in this world. Even if you win something legit like a state Lottery, taxes have to be paid.”

“I would not have even paid attention to that dopey radio advertisement. A free vacation? PUHLEESE!! Lol Usually, it’s for some timeshare scheme, but it was an “activation fee” in your case. I bet every single person who called in that day “won.” Of course, as soon as you heard it would be $399, I would have just hung up.”

Media Loves to Share These Stories

“I saw El Genio is based out of Bakersfield, but from what I remember, NBC Los Angeles uses the same guy for all consumer reports (we owned a cabin near there for years). Since it’s media, they may want to share your story.”

Call the Radio Station

“I’d call the radio station. Give them a chance to make it right. Then go to the news media, especially if you have a ‘consumer alert’ guy who helps people get their money back from scams. The radio station wouldn’t want that negative publicity.”

Can you believe a popular radio show allowed scammers onto their radio waves?

So, to our readers, now you know. Good luck, and always remember: Nothing is free. If it sounds too good to be true – it probably is.

A thread inspired this article.

This article was produced and syndicated by The Happiness Function.

Featured Image Credit: luislouro/

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Zobia Shazi


  1. Burt Randall on March 18, 2023 at 3:16 pm

    Twice in my life, I won a free lunch from a radio station…but this is too much…be careful out there!

    • Ashlee Fechino on March 27, 2023 at 7:41 pm

      Yes, scams can happen to anyone. Be safe out there.