Scam call from “Mitchell Communications” / “Faithful Marketing” / “Vandell Communications”

By | August 6, 2010

UPDATE [August 30, 2011]: Tony Mitchell has threatened to sue me for criticizing him on my blog. Read all the details here, and please consider chipping in a few bucks to help cover my legal defense. Thanks!

UPDATE [February 7, 2011]: As others have noted, they’re now making calls under a third name, “Vandell Communications”. I can confirm that’s how they’re spelling the name because, for some inexplicable reason, @VandellCom followed me briefly yesterday on Twitter before unfollowing me. D’oh!

UPDATE [November 30, 2010]: If you receive one of these calls, please report it to both the National Do Not Call Registry and the FCC. The latter is more likely to result in action against the caller, but it’s important to file both complaints.

UPDATE [November 7, 2010]: Please see my Open letter to Tony Mitchell, the owner of Mitchell Communication Group, a.k.a., Faithful Marketing.

UPDATE [October 29, 2010]: When this article was first published, on August 6, 2010, they were “Mitchell Communication(s) Group”, but now they’re “Faithful Marketing”. They’ve changed their name, but not their modus operandi. I’ve updated the title to reflect the new name, but I’ve otherwise left the article as originally posted.

Got a scam call today I wanted to let other people know about.

The caller ID was “Gorden Leslie” with the phone number 773-891-5581. Here’s a transcript of the message:

Hi, this is Patrick calling from Mitchell Communications Group. I have made numerous attempts to reach you [lie!] regarding an entry form that was filled out in your name within the last 12 to 18 months to receive a new car. [probable lie!] This will be my final attempt to notify that your name was pulled and you’re going to receive one of our top four major prizes. It would be in your best interest to give me a call back as soon as possible. The number is toll free at 1-877-279-3457 extension 243. We’re not a telemarketing agency [lie!] or a timeshare and this is not a cold call so please do not ignore this message. I’m very aware of the do not call list so I wouldn’t be calling unless you actually entered. [lie!] This is a time sensitive matter I do look forward to hearing from you. Once again congratulations my name is Patrick.

Just for kicks, I called back and was connected to a woman who identified herself as “Rhonda, your prize coordinator.”

She asked for my name and phone number. I told her that it sounded an awful lot like a scam, so to prove she was telling the truth about my filling out a contest entry form, she’d have to give me back my name if I gave her my number. She got all defensive and said it wasn’t her job to “prove” anything to me. Needless to say, this proved that it’s a scam, since a real, legitimate contest wouldn’t hesitate to prove that you’d actually entered. I decided to play along and gave her my name and phone number.

I took notes for the remainder of the call. Here are some highlights that I managed to jot down:

  • She said “top three major prizes,” in contrast to “Patrick’s” four major prizes.
  • She claimed that I had filled out an entry form at a “mall, sporting event or festival” 12 to 18 months ago and “the contest is now closed” and I’d been selected as a winner.
  • She said the three prizes were:
    • 1st: 2010 Ford Expedition or $25,000;
    • 2nd: fly and stay holiday (she went into lots of detail about this; guess what the prize everybody wins is!); and
    • 3rd: 27″ flat-screen television.
  • She said my wife and I had to go in person to find out what we’d won and sit through a 90-minute “award celebration and presentation” for the “grand opening of a new travel agency.” She claimed that the name of the travel agency was “GCI Travel”.
  • The address she gave for the presentation was 800 South Main Street, Mansfield, Mass.
  • No children or guests would be allowed to attend the presentation with us.
  • We had to bring two forms of ID — a driver’s license and a major credit card — with us. “These are for identification purposes only and will never leave your hands.”
  • She gave us a claim number, MCG534.
  • She said we had to agree to let them publicize us if we won the car or we wouldn’t receive it.
  • She claimed that I’d indicated on the entry form that I was married, over a certain age (I think it was 25 but don’t remember for certain) and make $60,000 per year. She said we would have to fill out another survey at the prize event and if the information didn’t match we wouldn’t receive the prize.
  • She tried very hard to convince us that this wasn’t a scam. She said the point of the contest was to make us feel good about this travel agency so that maybe we’d give them our business later, although there was of course no obligation. The phrases “you don’t have to buy, sign or join anything,”, “nothing to be skeptical about,” “we’re not here to waste your time,” “just trying to show you guys a nice time,” and “no trick no hoax no scam” were all used.
  • She said she was going to fax or email us a letter with confirmation of all this information and we would have to sign and bring it back with us.
  • She said we could go to pick up our prize tomorrow (yes, tomorrow!).
  • When I told her my wife was out of the country for the next several weeks, she first asked if there was another married couple that could attend and claim the prize on our behalf, and then asked if my wife could fly back into town for the day to claim the prize and then fly back to wherever she was (really!). She said that once the Ford Expedition was won, the prize drawings would be over.
  • When I told her that no, neither of those was really an option, she gave me her phone number (877-249-6405 ext. 126) and told me to call her back when my wife was back in town. She said she wasn’t going to send us the confirmation letter until then. It’s a shame; I really wanted to see it just for kicks (and to get more information about the scam).

Interesting fact: According to Google maps, one of the companies that does business at that address is “Premium Destinations Northeast.” Hmm.

I can’t find anything definitive on-line about a travel agency named “GCI Travel”.  But I think in fact they’re a timeshare company.

I filed a complaint with donotcall.gov and the FCC (both are important). I’m pretty sure this is a timeshare scam, and I’m also pretty sure their phone call to me was a violation of the do-not-call law.

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371 thoughts on “Scam call from “Mitchell Communications” / “Faithful Marketing” / “Vandell Communications”

  1. Wallace

    I got a call today (Sun) at 5:30. Heard…sorry we have the wrong number. I did this Google search and also reported them to the National Do Not Call Registry…and deleted them from my phone listing.

    Reply
  2. steve

    WAS CALL TODAY BY SOMEONE NAME CHRIS AT X243 WONDER HOW MANY FROM THERE BACK YARD (MANSFIELD,MA) GET THIS CALL !IT IS A SCAM

    Reply
  3. Nancy

    We received the same call today. (They followed the script verbatim). I was certain that it was a scam, so looked it up on-line. Thanks for taking the time to share the information.

    Reply
    1. JIM W

      i GOT THE SAME CALL TODAY 2-17-11 AND THEY ACTUALLY USED THE EXACT SCRIPT AND WANTED US TO COME IN TOMORROW, fRIDAY AT 1:00PM – -HOW ABOUT SATURDAY AT 3:00PM – – -I DON’T THINK SO – -THANKS FOR THE DETAILED INFO. JIM W

      Reply
  4. JERRY

    I RECEIVED A CALL FRIDAY JUST LIKE THE EVERY ONE IS TALKING ABOUT.
    I CALLED BACK AND SPOKED TO A GUY NAMED KEVIN. I TOLD HIM I NEVER FILLED OUT FORM OF ANY KIND. AND HE SAID HE WILL PUT ME ON DO NOT LIST. I KNEW THEN IT WAS A SCAM FOR SURE. JUST WANTED YOU TO KNOW.
    THANKS FOR PUTTING THIS ON THE INTERNET.

    Reply
    1. David

      I agree, thank you so much for putting this on the internet! I got the same call yesterday.

      Reply
  5. Kris

    I got this message, word for word, as well. Same exact phone number. This is really pathetic. I own a timeshare and would NEVER do it again (the timeshare I own is STILL pressuring me to upgrade, buy an additional unit, buy a different type of unit, buy an extra week, etc.). I’m not interested in anyone’s high-pressure sales pitch for a timeshare or any other type of vacation “opportunity”!!!

    Reply
    1. Al

      Same phone number and extension. Same pitch. Blah, blah. contacted do not call and fcc. Thanks for the quick links.

      Reply
  6. Tracy

    Just a brief note to say “thank you” for posting your open letter to Faithful Marketing. I, too, received a call this week from Christopher at Vandell Marketing and after reading the hundreds of complaints and reading your letter I filed complaints with the FCC and Do Not Call Registry. I hope they are stopped before anyone is scammed out of their money.

    Reply
  7. Donna

    Received the exact same call today i NJ. Reported to the FCC and the Do Not Call registry.

    Reply
  8. Marlie

    I’m wondering if this is the same “Faithful Marketing” from FB that shows an address in Lee’s Summit, MO. The one that can be followed on Twitter, by following one of those three friends listed in FB, and who happens to be from Sweden. (Now living in the midwest) What are the ties here??

    Reply
  9. Anonymous

    Receive a call from Chris at Mitchell Communications today (Jan. 27, 2011) with the identical speal about being a winner of one of the top for prizes. The telephone number was 708-933-0039.

    We never enter any contests, and never received any call from him prior to today. Have no idea how he got our telephone number.

    Reply
  10. Jay

    I got the same message as above verbatim, Christopher and the # was 1-866-312-9553 ext. 109. I’m tempted to buy my own autodialer and enter all the numbers on this website and call them in an attempt to sell my own artwork or gigs for my dad’s band repeatedly. The way they entered for this privilege is by calling my number, (they did not realize they were entering when they did this!)
    The only way they could have got my home phone # is from my job applications (dirty trick!); for all other forms and unofficial junk I always give out my cell number (which is never turned on). Home # is on Do Not Call.
    Thanks to all who reported on this site and others, and here’s to an end of Spammers and Scammers!

    Reply
    1. Carrie

      Got the same message today in KS. From Christopher and 866-312-9553 ext 109.

      Reply
      1. Jen

        I got the same call and number x243 from Michelle from Vandale Communications in KS yesterday.

        Reply
      2. Kevin

        Yup. Good ole Christopher left us a message in KS a week ago (Feb 5th or so). Active little sucker. If their product is worth buying, they wouldn’t need to be so secretive.

        Reply
  11. Mario

    I got the exact call like everyone else. How can we screw these people back??

    Reply
  12. Ocon59

    I received the same message today from Jerome. He didn’t leave the company name in his message, but caller ID indicated Mitchell Communications. Call back number of 866-312-9553, x122. We never entered any contest. But I Googled them anyway & glad I found this site. I will also be reporting them.

    Reply
  13. DAP

    Received the same call. This story is all over the internet. I reported them to the FCC (very important to report them here) and the Do Not Call Registry also. Sleazeballs is all I can say. Are they serious? In this economy. And who would fall for this bull!!!

    Reply
  14. John Williams

    I got a call today. This is the text of the message:

    “Hi this is Christopher calling from Wendell communication. I have made numerous attempts to reach you regarding entry form that was filled out in your name within the last for 18 months to receive a new car. This is my final attempt to notify that today was pulled, you are going to receive one of our top four major prizes. Will be your best interest to give me a call back as soon as possible. My number is toll free at 1-866-312-9553 ext. 109. We are not a telemarketing agency or timeshare and this is not a cold call. So please do not ignore this message. I am aware of do not call list. I wouldn’t be calling unless you actually entered. This is the type of this matter. I do look forward to hearing from you. Once again congratulations, my name is Christopher “

    Reply
  15. Donna

    I received the same call from Christopher. Thanks to this site, I did not waste my time.

    Reply
  16. Keith

    I got a phone call today from Christopher with the same pitch as everyone else.I didn’t answer the phone and he left a message.

    Reply
  17. Angie

    Just received a call from Christopher this morning – I let the voice mail pick it up- saying the same thing being reported. I could not understand the company he said he was with, but the caller ID came up as Prize Crd Srvc. Internet research indicates the call originated from Chicago Heights, IL – Thanks to the informational posting of Scam call from “Faithful Marketing”, I didn’t waste time calling him back – I spent the time reporting it!

    Reply
  18. Deb

    Thank you for the great & informative postings. I too just received a call from Christopher using the same script. I had filled out a form to win a car, but this clearly is not the contest I entered, but a scam.

    Reply
  19. Susan

    Got the exact same calls from Christopher with the script exactly as above….im on the do not call list shame on you Christopher.

    Reply
  20. Bill

    “Christopher” is still at it — he’s left several messages on my home phone over the last few weeks. Can’t quite tell what company name he used — sounded like “Pendale Communications” but could have been Wendall Communications. Same spiel as above, with the number 866-312-9553 x109. (It’s a shame that nobody has a service that can just autodial these clowns every 2-3 minutes for a few days straight both the tie up their phone lines but also to rack up their phone bill!)

    Now I’m off to file my complaints too…

    Reply
    1. Crystal

      I think it was Van Dale Communications. And yes I also got a Christopher and that same phone number. At least that’s what I Googled and it led me to this site.

      Reply
  21. Lynda

    This message was on my home phone in Maine as well 1-866-312-9553 ext 109 same line..I googled the number and found all this info about it. I am filing a complaint as well.

    Reply
  22. tt

    got the same call today from Vandale communications, Christopher. Thanks to all for posting now I know it’s a scam.

    Reply
  23. Cathy

    Just received a postcard saying I won an “all expense” paid Cruise for 8 days/7nights on the Carnival, plus airfare. I called, of course, to find out how legitimate it was. Once I heard that I must attend a 90-minute seminar this week in order to receive my gift, I knew it was a scam. I asked the name of the company and phone number: It seems that “Premier Destinations” in Mansfield, MA is already being investigated…. I was told I must bring 2 forms of ID, plus a credit card (not debit) ONLY to show, not take. Just want to inform other people that they are at it again !!!! please do not trust them.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Hi Cathy,
      I called the number today and got the same info, I foolishly wanted to go and try it out, too good to be true. My husband was smart enough to google them thanks to everyones comments I’m not going to go, the 8day free cruise with two round trip tickets came in by mail, and I was told to bring id and credit card, 90 dollar down payment and 75dollars for tax chgs,Oh well, I guess by hearing all these comments it’s not a good idea to go. And my operators name was Candice, and the 90 minute meeting was going to be in Mansfield, Ma.also. Thank you again for all your comments on this.

      Reply
  24. Pat

    I too just got a call from Premier Destinations in Mansfield Massachusetts who said I have won a prize in exactly this manner. So glad and grateful that I found this site to confirm what I already knew. That it is scam.
    Thank you!

    Reply
  25. Krys

    Got same message today at 2:11 PM – going to string him along, have him keep calling me till the cows come home!

    Reply
  26. Mike D

    Received the same call from Christopher about 30 mins ago. Called back and got voice mail. The script was identical to several of the other posters above. I will most defiantly report to the do not call and FCC. Thanks for the internet and sites like this. Happy Holidays to all.

    Reply
  27. Gina Pateman

    I want to thank you for the time you took to do this. I got my infamous call today and immediately googled, and went straight to this website. If only more people would be just a little skeptical, these kinds of calls would be history. Gotta love the internet, google, and of course people like Jonathan Kamens!

    Reply
  28. Steve

    Christopher has called my home several times in the last month. 1-866-312-9553 x109 as Vandale Communications. Same script. I tried to call back to provide some HOLIDAY CHEER!( if you know what I mean) to Chris’s Lousy life. But no answer. I’ll file a compliant with do not call registry and the FCC as well. After all that will propbably be more effective that my HOLIDAY CHEER! idea.

    Reply
  29. Jane

    Just heard from Christopher from…pause…Mondale Communications about the same top 4 prizes that I may have won! 866-312-9553 x109
    Hubby said it was a scam – and thanks to your blog he is proved correct! Thank you!

    Reply
  30. Mari

    Christopher left the same message today as everyone else has received. It was difficult to understand what company he represented… to me it sounded like Bankdale Communications but could have been Vandale.

    What I love is the “this is not a cold call” garbage. The ‘fill in a card and drop it in a box’ drawings at public events are generally a way to collect phone numbers and generate leads for shysters like this one. Everyone has a winning entry and all receive the same phone message. I don’t waste my time entering contests so this was indeed a cold call. I hope this company is shut down and fined appropriately.

    I filed complaints with both Do Not Call and the FCC.

    Reply
  31. Maryanne

    Received that call from Christopher….from Vandale Communications…ext. 109. Suspected a scam…googled Vandale Communications and came up with all your comments. I am also supposed to be on the donotcall list but as in all scams, crooks simply change their name and that means they are not on the donotcall. Same as businesses that rip off clients and customers and then go out of business only to re-open under another name.
    Keep this going…I’m going to also contact the donotcall list for all the good it may do. I think these communcations will do more.

    Reply
    1. Barbara

      I have just received my second message from “Christoper of Mondale Communications” this week. With the exception of the name and phone number, the message follows the above transcript word for word. Thanks for the heads up on this scam……Do Not Call Registry and FCC are next on my list.

      Reply
    2. Ralph U.

      Received the same call from Christopher as Maryanne mentioned; he said Vandale Communications in the voicemail but the caller ID showed Mitchell Communications, 708-248-7120, which is what I searched on Google. The reverse look-up on White Pages shows an unpublished number from Chicago Heights, IL. The message left was word for word as Patrick writes with the exception of the name and company name and this was the 2nd message left in about 1 week’s time. I hope these people who organize this stuff get nailed!

      Reply
  32. chris

    I just got the call and found your site. I’m going to link to you from my blog and give you some Google juice! This is a great thing you are doing. Keep it up!
    BTW, I reported to both the Do Not Call Registry and the FCC. Please urge everyone to report to them both, because that’s the only way to shut these guys down.

    Reply
  33. Patsy

    Christopher left a message and callback # of 866-312-9553 x5109 on December 2d. Info left was similar to that everyone has reported. I smelled a rat and did not call back. It’s been forever since I signed up for anything of the sort. I’m on DoNot Call registry.

    Reply
  34. Nick

    The marketing companies do not represent premium destinations inc. PDI is a distributor of Global Connections inc, which is the largest travel club in the US. Global Connections has over 175,000 members. It’s NOT a timeshare presentation and you do get the gifts at the end. The presentation is very brief, and you are out of there within 90 minutes (the podium lasts no longer than 50 minutes.)

    Reply
    1. jik Post author

      … all of which is irrelevant, because (a) Global Connections may be a “travel club” rather than a timeshare company, but that’s essentially the same to most people (“you put up a big chunk of money up-front to be able to go places more cheaply later”), therefore (b) it’s still a presentation that’s trying to sell you something, when the callers claim that it’s not, (c) the callers are still lying about people having entered a contest, and (d) there’s still no proof that anyone has ever actually won the car.

      Also, Mitchell Communications claims to represent many different companies, not just one. Therefore, even if you’re right that Global Connections is one of their clients and that Global Connections is totally legitimate, there’s still all those others.

      Also, what makes you qualified to make the claims in your comment? I.e., how do you know this stuff?

      Reply
    2. jik Post author

      I’m not sure what you consider a “timeshare presentation”, but here’s what GCI has to say about their travel club on their Web site:

      Members of the travel club have access to weeklong vacation stays in studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom condominiums in resorts located around the world, 7-day Caribbean Cruise vacations and the benefits of a full-service travel agency.

      Sure sounds like a timeshare to me!

      Reply
    3. bill

      @Nick:

      Plain and simple. Reputable companies don’t try to attract customers into a high-pressure sales pitch with lies and sleazy tactics like these.

      Reply
  35. H.P.

    I just got the same call in Missouri, but I did not catch the caller’s name. When I entered the phone number left on my caller ID, this site came up. Thanks for keeping me from having to sit through another timeshare presentation!

    Reply
  36. Sassy NJ

    I just got the same call, but from Vandale Communications. The caller identified himself as Chris and said that I won one of 4 top prizes (yeah, right) because I entered a contest 12-18 months ago. I wish these jerks would get a real job and stop trying to scam innocent people. No one needs this nonsense – especially in this economy. Jonathan, you’re a great guy for launching this blog in an effort to inform the public. I wish you a very happy holiday season and New Year. You’re a gentleman! 🙂

    Reply
  37. Anonymous

    They changed their name again to “Mondale Communications”. The funny thing is that Christopher had to pause and read the name of his new company. I must have been his fist call as Mondale.

    Reply
  38. carolzee

    Wow, I’m amazed. I just got the same call. Wow, are we all lucky!! How do these people make money?? Who is paying them for this BS they’re spouting?? I have no sympathy for lying crooks!!!!

    Reply
  39. Anonymous

    Had a call from this number this morning (866-312-9553 X109), listed as Prize Card Services on caller ID. thanks to these posts not even calling back but will report to National Do Not Call.

    Reply
  40. Denise

    Just got a call from Christopher too, so glad to have seen this messages to confirm it’s a scam, hate wasting time. I will report them to the do not call registry as well. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      I received a call from Christopher today as well. Phone number of 866-312-9553 X109. Called ID said Mitchell Communications. This is about the 4th call I’ve received, but the first time I came to check it out. So glad to find out it IS a scam. Will be filing a complaint too!

      Reply
  41. PR Taft

    Thanks for the tip. I just finished reporting them to the donotcall registry. I almost got suckered in today (22 Nov 2010) till I read the fine print on their confirmation letter emailed to me about the 90 minute presentation I was required to listen to prior to receiving one of 4 prizes (2010 Lincoln Navigator or $45k, trip, tv, $2500 cash). That’s when the light bulbs went off b/c it was just like the timeshare presentation I did get suckered into circa 1987. Lecture then no promised prize. If I remember right there was a prize I was NOT interested in.

    Reply
  42. Reggie

    Looks like this scam is still going on. I just got my “Christopher” phone call today with the exact same pitch as everyone else. Caller ID lists the number as 1-708-898-0976 (PRIZE CRD SRVC).

    I already reported the call to the DoNotCall registry. I’m tempted to call them back simply to waste their time. Time they spend with me is less time they can spend scamming someone else.

    Reply
  43. Sylvia

    Christopher called me November 17th. Left a message to call back. I tried calling the number back and the mail box is full and hung up! Thanks for the information. I’ll file a complaint with the do not call registry.

    Reply
    1. Pat

      Christopher called me December 20th. Left a message from Vandale Communications to call 866-312-9553 to receive my prize. When I called the number, his mailbox was full and you could not talk to a live person. Thanks for the information. I filed my conplaint.

      Reply
      1. Tim

        Received the same call today from someone named Christopher @ 866-312-9553 x 109. Caller ID said Mitchell Communications. Watch out its a scam!!

        Reply

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