I don’t often go out of my way to tarnish the reputation of anyone. It’s just not something I generally have time to mess with. Global Escapes is an exception. I’ve actually been meaning to make this post for a few weeks now, but just haven’t had the time to sit down and write it out.

Shortly before the Christmas holiday, my wife got a phone call at the house. It was from someone at Wal-Mart’s HQ informing us that we had entered a drawing and been selected as the winner of some vacation. The Wal-Mart HQ thing was flag #1. To claim our prize, they wanted us to make travel arrangements through a local company called Global Escapes. We looked them up and they had an office in the nice side of town so that was a little comforting. My wife said the caller was a bit pushy about the whole ordeal and had our address wrong. The address they had was from a home we haven’t lived in for almost 3 years now. My wife proceeds to ask when we entered the drawing as we wouldn’t have put an old address down. The caller says it was right before easter of that year or the year before. This is flag #2. We wouldn’t have used an old address for a contest this year, last year, or even the year before. Furthermore, we don’t usually go to Wal-Mart.

After taking our details down and scheduling a time for us to come by the office, the caller kept repeating “You promise you are coming, right?” My wife was kind of taken back by this, but hesitantly confirmed that we would. After hanging up, she promptly called me to relay the conversation and details of the call.

I started doing a little research and took a look at the Global Escapes website, which actually has no vacation resources on it at all. Instead, there are links for Login, About, Downloads, etc. No mention of hotels, flights, etc on this so called Travel Agency website. After a little more digging, I came across several interesting pages online about this company including a less than stellar BBB report.

My discovery shined some light on exactly what Global Escapes did. They aren’t a Travel Agency and they specialize in selling vacation planning software that claims to save you thousands of dollars on your vacations. All of this, in exchange for some hefty cash. In essence, they are running a scam operation and using false pretenses to lure victims to the meetings.

Since we had the phone number for GE, I quickly called up and spoke to someone in Dallas that had a heavy foreign accent and informed him that we would not be attending the meeting and that we knew exactly what kind of scam they were running. The man spoke very slow in an effort to keep me on the phone and kept repeating himself and acting like he couldn’t understand what I was saying. After finally hanging up on him, I went ahead and called the Legal Dept at Wal-Mart HQ and informed them of the situation. I was informed that I was not the first caller to complain about Global Escapes using the Wal-Mart ploy to trick people. The woman at Wal-Mart thanked me for my time and informed me that I would not be hearing from Global Escapes again.

One thing stands out to me in this story aside from the red flags noted during the actual story. If Global Escapes was legit, and they aren’t, why would they need to lie to get me to come and do business with them? They have offices located nationwide so I suspect people all over the country are being duped into handing over large sums of money in exchange for what amounts to nothing.

In preparing for this post I did a little more searching and found that there is one legitimate company using the Global Escapes name. The scamming operation is currently housed at http://www.global-escapes.net while the legitimate agency, from what I can tell, is located at http://www.globalescapes.com

So if you happen to get a phone call about a contest from someone who is vague on the details or changes the story, you might want to be a little skeptical because it’s probably not true.