Ken Paxton

Hispanics Are Targets of Suspicious Vacation Sweepstakes

Thursday, March 23, 2006

My office has heard from Hispanic-surnamed consumers who received unexpected calls, often to their cell phones, informing them that they “won” a fun-filled vacation. Consumers who answer these calls first hear a recording in Spanish telling them to “press 1 if your credit card number begins with a 4.” After following this prompt, consumers are connected to a live Spanish-speaking person who enthusiastically congratulates the consumer for having won a travel package with airfare and hotels to places like Disney World or Las Vegas.

First of all, the initial prompt asking consumers if their credit card begins with the number 4 is simply a ploy to ensure that those who proceed to talk with a live representative have a credit card. A large number of credit cards begin with the number 4.

Once they speak to an agent, consumers learn they must give the caller their full credit card number to pay a $399 “processing fee” for this fabulous vacation. Consumers who hesitate are given the hard sell and are told they are neglecting the well being of their children by not accepting such a great deal that the whole family will enjoy.

It is very doubtful that anyone can legitimately offer an excursion package like what is being touted for $399. Also, consumers who accept the offer would be handing over credit card information to a complete stranger.

DO NOT give your credit card numbers or any other financial information to telemarketers who call unexpectedly and use high pressure tactics like these. If you must pay any amount, then it is not really a gift. Just hang up.

If you are getting calls like these and want to report them to my office call 1-800-252-8011 or go online at Both our hotline and Web page offer assistance in Spanish.