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Corridor Travel Scam In Cedar Rapids

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) Some Corridor residents are getting offers for cheap travel, but beware, everything might not be what it seems. And the scam is scheduled to continue this weekend.

"It makes me feel mad and a little sick, said Judy Christiansen, who nearly fell for the scam.

It was perpetrated by a group thats gone by both Scenic Valley Travel and Leisure Travel Services, but the Better Business Bureau says theres no difference.

"The real name is Scenic Valley Travel, we have an 'F' rating, and then in red, 'there is an alert for this business," said the Director of the Better Business Bureau Barbara Green.

It starts with just a post-card in the mail, inviting you to a seminar where after 90 minutes of your time, the group promises cheap accommodations for a luxury vacation.

"That's how they get there. And then they are really selling you membership in a travel club, said Green.

Christiansen went to the seminar. Just like Green said, before Christiansen could travel, she had to pay.

"It was going to be $9,000 so if you traveled two times a year over ten years you'd get your money back, said Christiansen.

When Christiansen said no, the price dropped to $8,000, then $6,000, then finally $3,000. She still declined and got vouchers for airfare and hotel accommodations just for coming to the presentation, but with activation fees of about $120.We called the Better Business Bureau, who said the vouchers are likely worthless.

Judy was hoping to use them to pay for a trip to Florida to see her son.

"It's not that much but why give it to them when we could have it, said Christiansen. I might as well send it to my son in Florida.

This scam is still alive with one of the seminars schedule in town this weekend.

CBS 2 News spoke with someone claiming to be from Scenic Valley Travel over the phone. He said that the company hadnt done business in Cedar Rapids since last year and declined to answer any other questions.
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