Crimes of Persuasion:

Schemes, scams, frauds.




A Bad Oyster

I was recently contacted by Oyster Bay "Prize Center," from Oak Brook, IL, telling me I had definitely won one of three prizes, a PT Cruiser or $15,000 in cash, a Las Vegas vacation or a 32 inch color TV.

I just needed to come in to claim my prize with three items of ID---my driver's license, checkbook (just to verify my address), and my "VIP number" 042.

It looks like they were going to sell me an expensive travel or timeshare package once I got there, because he said that we would first be taken on a "tour" of their facility.

Is this a variation of the 1 of 5 scam?

I just looked up their phone number on the BBB site and it belongs to another company in Pennsylvania (888-297-7839), with several complaints and no cooperation from the company.

Conrad Wojnar 01/30/02


Hi Conrad,

Though I can't speak on current ops until they are charged whenever I hear the phrase "one of three, four or five prizes" an alarm bell goes off.

I have three applicable sections you should review. They are Vacation Clubs and the One of Five Sweepstakes page.

Beyond that, plan on a high pressure sales presentation, winning the crappy prize with many restrictions and being duped.

Not that there is anything wrong with that particular company, unless they are mentioned at www.ftc.gov/search or in my search function at site page bottom. Try also www.google.com

Les


About ten days after my husband filled out a sweepstakes form at a local mall Oyster Bay from Oak Brook, IL was on the phone saying we had been chosen for a final drawing and have definitely won one of the prizes you've listed.

It sounds very suspicious as I can find NOTHING else online about this company even though they claim that MOST people recognize their name from Wheel of Fortune.

It seems very odd that they continually call and are ever so eager to be giving away their "prizes".

The person calling us was Kevin at extension 414, who told us their location is 903 Commerce Drive Oak Brook, IL. 1-888-297-7839.

They say that you don't have to buy anything but that you need to bring your Driver's License, and a major credit card verifying it's you.

They say you can even block out all the info except your name. Sounds ridiculous to me.

Because of babysitter problems we haven't been able to go, but boy, they keep calling to try and accommodate us offering appointments in 15 minute slots, every day of the week.

My husband thinks we should go but I say no. I don't want to waste my time and have absolutely no use for 2 of the 3 prizes, so my thinking is why bother.

Julie Pisciotto 05/22/02


I was contacted by the Oyster Bay Prize Center and thinking I was going to win one of 3 great prizes I cancelled a trip to go away this weekend.

I thought it just might be too good to be true so I decided to do a search and came across your site.

I am truly disappointed in myself to find out this is just a scam.

Like the others stated, Oyster Bay said I only needed three items of ID---my driver's license, checkbook ( just to verify my address ), and my "VIP number" to come claim my prize.

Stacey, West Chester, PA  05/31/02


I just got off the phone with Oyster Bay. They were excited and polite about the "new car" prize that I had won.

Unfortunately, I'm single and was promptly disqualified from the contest.

They did leave me two phone numbers, neither of which connect to Oyster Bay.

Stephen Sears 07/19/02


The Curtain Is Finally Raised

Just got off the phone with a telemarketer who said that my husband has won one of three prizes; A Jeep Grand Cherokee (or $15,000), a trip for two to Las Vegas, or a 32" Sony TV.

Again, all we needed was two forms of ID including our drivers license and our checkbook (to verify our address) and our claim number 078.

The name she gave was Julie Buckman of Oyster Bay with phone number 800-560-8725 x478.

When I called back I get an unprofessional sounding message for the "Awards Claim Center".

We were told to go to a short presentation at 903 Commerce Drive, Oakbrook IL 60523.

She explained that once we heard the presentation we could opt for a simulation and then draw a ticket to see which of the three prizes we had won.

Oyster Bay does have a website for their Caribbean resort at www.oysterbaybeachresort.com which does list their corporate headquarters at the address given to me.

I called their given number 630-571-9800 and they said that they don't know about giving away any prizes or sweepstakes and that only the marketing company would know at 800-560-8715.

They did not know the name of the marketing company, only the number. They said that they have been there for 18 years. I called this number that was answered "The Oyster Bay Beach Club Awards Center" and finally got Julie Buckman.

She elaborated that we buy nothing and pay nothing except for taxes.

We are to go into a room set up like an airplane for a "virtual reality" tour of the facilities in Las Vegas and North Carolina which lasts for only 20 minutes.

She said they are the travel equivalent of Costco or Sam's club.

The Better Business Bureau says this on their website:

BBB member since 1989. The company has agreed to use special procedures including mediation and arbitration if necessary to resolve complaints.

American Resorts International was established and incorporated in Delaware as a for-profit corporation on October 25, 1983. The Bureau's file opened on the company October 1985.

Also does business as Alpenland Resorts Ltd.,  Oyster Bay,  Premium Office,  Radisson Vacation Villas,  Resorts International Travel Service.

The first completed product of American Resorts International was Alpenland Sport Hotel and Fitness Center located in Austria and marketed between 1985 and 1991.

In December of 1996 A.R.I. acquired another resort on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten called Oyster Bay Beach Resort.

Membership is assigned to families through a club called the Oyster Bay Club, N.V. members are entitled to use rights for a period of 99 years.

A maintenance fee is paid to cover property tax, insurance, upkeep, based on the size of the unit reserved ( basic $324 + $75 for every extra two people )

A member's weeks may be used at their home resort, another A.R.I. resort, or exchange them for time at resorts contained in Interval International's directory.

Whenever a customer prefers to go to a resort through Interval International's exchange system, a full week is relinquished in trade.

The cost to exchange a week through Interval International is $99 for a domestic location and $119 for an international destination.

The prospective participants only obligation is to attend the 90 minute sales presentation. After completing the sales presentation a gift is given.

The complaints received by the BBB/Chicago generally allege dissatisfaction with the "gift" received at the sales presentation and/or high pressure sales methods were employed by company representatives and/or consumers who purchased the company's products reported difficulty in securing accommodations on either the date or in the location of selected destinations.

Rebecca Moon 08/20/02


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