Travel scam artists return with different name, location
By WFSB Staff
NORTH HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -
A group of salesmen promising discount travel to anyone who pays thousands in membership fees is back preying on people in Connecticut under a new company name and location.
Last year the I-Team exposed Travel Deals after hearing from angry customers who lost thousands on its travel scam.
Shortly after our investigation, the state Department of Consumer Protection launched an investigation and Travel Deals disappeared.
We thought we drove them out of the state for good until early this year when we started to get tips that they were back, this time under a new name, Travel Smart and operating out of North Naven.
They have been sending similar postcards, and inviting potential targets to the Holiday Inn in North Haven.
Travel Smart employees check identification before people can enter to hear their pitch, so the I-Team couldn't get inside a seminar. But we talked to Eric Swan, of Moodus, who got a postcard and was tempted by the offer of the free trip.
He signed up to attend a seminar, but alarm bells started going off for Swan when someone from Travel Smart offered to immediately drop the $9,000 travel club entry fee to $4,200 when he couldn't afford it.
Swan attended a seminar, but left without paying. After hearing from the I-Team that the company operates a scam, he wondered why it is still in business.
"I'm surprised the state of Connecticut has allowed them back in and I'm glad you guys are following up," Swan said.
The I-Team exposed Travel Deals nearly a year ago. The state of Massachusetts has sued many people associated with the operation, and so has the state of New Jersey where regulators arrested a man named Darryl Turner who they said is the brains behind the operation.
We asked the state Department of Consumer Protection why no action has been taken on Travel Deals while dozens of Connecticut taxpayers are attending their seminars without realizing they are a scam.
The agency said their investigation is ongoing and that it is aware Travel Deals is operating under a new name.
The agency urges consumers to be "highly skeptical of any deal that offers 'something for nothing.'"
Copyright 2012 WFSB ( Meredith Corporation) All rights reserved
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