SCAM ALERT! Club Ultima / Crown Regency Hotel Scam

I received a call from an unknown number one busy day at work. The caller introduced himself as Lester Chua and immediately said that we won a free overnight stay at the 5-star hotel called Crown Regency Hotel. He mentioned that we can opt to stay in Crown Regency Hotel located in Cebu or in other branches of that hotel.

Sensing my disbelief about winning a raffle, Lester reminded me of the raffle entry that I filled-up during the Travel Mart Expo last year. I told him that I already threw away the raffle stub so I am no longer eligible to win. He brushed that aside and said that I can still win the free overnight stay if I can confirm my personal information. I admit that I was driven by emotions that time so I foolishly provided all the personal details that he asked for. 

I suddenly imagined me, My Beloved Wife Lei and the kids enjoying by the pool beside a 5-star hotel. I also imagined us strolling along the beach and touring to the historical places of the Queen City of the South.  Finally, I can bring the kids to Cebu and make them enjoy a 5-star hotel.

Lester said that I had to attend their 90-minutes audio-visual presentation about the Crown Regency Hotel to claim the gift certificate for the free overnight stay. He insisted that I have to bring my wife. He kept on mentioning that there will be free buffet lunch and there will be no financial obligation on claiming the gift certificate.

I believed that there’s no harm attending an audio-visual presentation so I told him that I will go to their office to claim the gift certificate.

After our conversation, Lester Chua sent the following messages:

Club Ultima / Crown Regency Hotel Scam
Club Ultima / Crown Regency Hotel Scam
Club Ultima / Crown Regency Hotel Scam
Club Ultima / Crown Regency Hotel Scam

The message reads:

INVITATION:
Mr. Ishmael Ahab & Mrs. Lei Ahab, 
CROWN REGENCY HOTEL Office: Unit 102 G/F LE METROPOLE BLDG. corner Tordesillas St. along Sen. Gil Puyat/Buendia (Inline of RCBC Plaza Gil Puyat, opposite PAG-IBIG FUND/BIR.in between Ministop & PhilTrust Bank) 
SCHEDULE: see you on SATURDAY, Sept. 10, 2016 at around 1:30pm to 3:30pm will wait. 
REQUIREMENTS: 
-Kindly bring 1 valid ID with your SPOUSE for proper identification and should watch the 90mins. video clippings & graphic display for you to  choose your best choice for your family vacation preferences & also for us to provide you all the important details raegarding your Gift Certificate. 
-NO Financial obligation upon claiming. 
Just look for me Mr. Lester Chua the Reservation Officer or Jenny Quintero our receptionist. 
In behalf of the management
CONGRATULATIONS!
GOD BLESS & SEE YOU!
I received that text message from mobile phone no. 09228825659.



Their group is quite persistent because they sent a lot of text messages. Another message that I received was from Pia Esguerra (mobile phone no. 09228825709) and it says:

A blessed day! Mr. Ishmael & Mrs. Lei Ahab This is Ms. Pia Esguerra Reservations Manager of Club Ultima/Crown Regency Hotel i would like to remind for the claiming of your gift certificate and that would set Tommorow , Saturday Sept.10 at around 1:30pm tn 3:00pm here at Le Metropole bldg. Makati corner TORDESILLAS along BUENDIA, inline of RCBC PLAZA. Please advise for the final confirmation if your coming for me to reserve a seat for the FREE REFRESHMENT Godbless you. See you!
This is the last message I received from someone with mobile phone no. 09228825731:

I just want to remind you for the claiming of your gft certificte today around 1:30pm at Club Ultima/Crown Regency Makati and kindly txt us your confrmation bcoz we are going to prepare a free snack for all selectd recipient and stay for the presentation that last for 90mins. kindly txt us if you are coming bcoz if your name is not on the guest list you can not enter the bldg. Congratulations!

My gut tells me that there is something wrong with the offer. I am a loser when it comes to raffle and this sudden win without the need for a raffle stub signaled some irregularities.

A Google search brought me to Julienne’s blog post about Club Ultima / Crown Regency Hotel, which was posted 5 years ago. The information I read there confirmed my suspicions. The offer made by Lester Chua is a sham.

Julienne also received a phone call who said that she won a free stay in Crown Regency Hotel. She was not tricked by the Club Ultima agent. However, the commenters to that blog post have different stories. Some commenters were tricked and gave large sums of money for a membership at Club Ultima. Others said that they couldn’t use the gift certificate because the hotel is always “fully-booked”.

Those who attended the 90-minute presentation said that the agents will try to convince you to join Club Ultima. They felt the pressure and some were hypnotized by the sales talk. Many gave in. In the end, they paid cash for a bad deal.

What actually  prompted me to be suspicious about the offer is that the address indicated in Lester Chua's text message is different from the address of Crown Regency Hotel in Makati. Isn’t it logical that a promotional event of a hotel be done inside the hotel?

The warning signs are very clear so I cancelled my attendance to their event. 

Looking back now, I believe that I might fall for their marketing ploy. I might give in especially if our babies are crying after the exhausting 90-minute presentation. 

My little Google search saved us from trouble. I am grateful to Julienne and other people who shared their experiences with the Club Ultima / Crown Regency Hotel Scam.

Lessons Learned

I learned a lot of things after my close call with Club Ultima / Crown Regency Scam. I am glad that I didn't learned these lessons the hard way:

1. Never give your personal information to the strangers and that includes the participants of travel mart or any travel expo. Their usual gimmick is that they will ask you to sign their gust book or fill-up a raffle coupon. This is just a way for them collect data that will be used for scams or, worse, for hacking your bank accounts, email, and social media accounts.

2. Be suspicious of offers that is too good to be true because there is no such thing as free hotel stays. There is always a catch.

3. Check with DTI if the raffle that you joined is legitimate. Real raffle or contest are registered with DTI.

4. Do an Internet search whenever you encounter offers like this. Always keep in mind that information is power.

I do hope that none of you, Dear Reader, will fall prey to these scammers. Be vigilant and never believe any too-good-to-be-true offer especially when there is money involved.
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31 comments:

  1. Thank you, Ishmael for sharing your unpleasant experience with us. It is a good reminder to us. No matter how careful we care, sometimes we can be easily influenced by their persistent. It is best not to entertain them. Have a beautiful day!

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome. I do hope that none of us will be victimized by these scammers.

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  2. Lots of scammers on the prowl now, usually they claim to be from a certain bank but they are not. The more advanced our technology, the greater the risks.

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    Replies
    1. I agree with you. The scams became more sophisticated as our technology advances. That's we have to be more vigilant while we surf and transact in the Internet.

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  3. Two weeks ago, I was also invited for the same thing. I actually had my thoughts of going but my fiance said she didn't want to. At that time, the event was supposed to be held at Robinsons Galleria. My friend got invited before and went to the "presentation", he said that they'll be selling membership cards of some sort.

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  4. I got the same call just yesterday, scheduling for a Sunday session 1-3:30pm. I felt uncomfortable because I experienced something like this in Boracay (Free Buffet in Astoria Boracay) but I had just attended an event so I considered it. Then today, I woke up to SEVEN missed calls from an agent of theirs just to confirm my attendance. I already decided to cancel my attendance afterwards.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah. Their agents are so persistent. Ako rin nakulitan sa kanila.

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  5. Just now received a call from ms sofia ...talagang nakaka duda kaya ito nagoogle ako at thank you for your post.

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  6. Thank you and your post cleared my doubts about Club Ultima. They are messaging me (Through certain Joanna 09998854374 and Ynah 09998854372) since Sept. 11. I'm suppose to attend but canceled due to bad weather. They are very persistent and even had a extended claiming night. Good thing I found-out it's a scam.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah. They are so kulit that's you will think twice about their motive.

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  7. Oh my gosh! 3 days and 2 nyts yung offer nila sakin. 18k ung worth ng gift certificate ko. Salamat naman at nabasa ko tung blog nato. Thank u thank u very much.

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  8. Yeah! I just got a call from Anne reyes.. bkt daw inde ako omunta nung aug. Biresched ako for tom..

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  9. We are corporate member of Club ultima and were recruited also with the same Marketing tool, right now we are using accomodations of the hotel as incentive to our employees, Club ultima is a membership club wherein you can avail the crown regency group of hotels in Cebu, mactan, boracay or use for hotels abroad. Yes the free accomodation is marketing recruitment tool but nevertheless you should have availed the free accomodation because this is the only hotel that offers the famous skywalk in cebu and hotels in boracay, the problem with club ultima is their marketing group did not care to explain and their side and we the members of the club were also humiliated with these negative comments

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    Replies
    1. I am sorry to know that you are humiliated because of the marketing ploy of Club Ultima. I guess the problem with this marketing tool is that they do not tell their offer upfront. It would be good if they tell the people that they are selling club membership to avail of the free accommodation. Kasalanan din ng marketers of Club Ultima ito kung bakit maraming taong nagagalit kasi hindi nila sinasabi agad kung ano yung tunay na intention ng gimmick na ito.

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    2. Hello ,I actually recvd a call yesterday same story.. me and my partner are supposed to go there today,since we are going to his office in Makati near Regency Crown office, but while I am waiting my partner ,I was still thinking if we will go there or not ,because I was thinking if this is legitimate or scam,.. Luckily I decide to google it, and saw about the scam alert, thank you so much for the info...

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  10. so what should we do? I already paid them 10000 just today.shall we get help from the government or Raffy Tulfo for this? Please help!!!

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  11. Thank you sir for sharing,glad that I have read your post kasi we are about to attend their 90 mins presentation tomorrow Nov. 26, 2017. They said that they got my husband's info from IIEE convention which held last nov. 16- 19. They selected 14 daw na nanalo. Thank God talaga nabasa ko po itong post nyo sir...

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  12. We are supposed to attend their 90 mins presentation today November 26, 2017 at Quezon City between 1-3pm. Buti n lang naggoogle ako about crown regency and I read about your post. The call was really for my hubby but since he left his celfon I answered it at nagpakilala yung kausap ko as Paul Garcia. Nanalo nga daw si hubby ng 3D2N n gift check fron crown regency at pwede lang gamitin sa cebu or davao. Nakuha daw nya info ng hubby ko from IIEE expo which was held nov 16-19. Kung di siguro ako nagsearch sa google baka mabiktima kami ng ganitong uri ng scam.

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  13. Totoo ba to? Papunta na sna kme ng asawa ko ngayon. Hbng sinesearch ko ung address. Tpos nkita ko toh. And nkta ko tong comment ng corporate member of club ultima. D nlng. Slamat ismael

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  14. Wtf! Sabi na eh may kalokohang halo ung pagtawag na un about some voucher daw na available. Buti nagsearch ako. Thanks for posring this!

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  15. Same story happened to me.. Told me that I won a 3D2N stay at Crown Regency Hotel.. The raffle was held at Shell Congressional Ave, QC.. The funny part here is that I always fuel up my car at Petron stations and not at Shell stations


    Good thing I searched this first before going at the appointed time tomorrow..

    PS Agents should market their offers upfront so that folks can understand what are the PROs and CONs.

    Thank you for sharing this article.

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  16. Update: This scam still continues until now. I received a call with the same old story, blah blah. Buti nalang, I already know na its a scam/ fake! Be vigilant, I think their target are people within Metro Manila.

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  17. I have received a similar call from Club Ultima today, as in I have just hung up from that call after telling them I'm going to research this first before giving them my information. This was the number they called me from, 09174718418. It's scary because they have your name and number. Where are they getting this info from? Someone is selling them a list of consumers who somehow have collected their contact info. I cannot believe that this has been going on for a while now. I am calling the 8888 hotline and DTI just so there'll be recorded complaints for these kind of ugly marketing tactics. Thanks for this blog.

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  18. 2 days na kaming nkaka received na calls regarding sa free accomadoation nga daw, nanalo daw kami, need calim ung giftcert along Quezon city, walang iallabas na pera at free dinner daw. tinanong ko panu ako nanalo sabi referal daw ng hotel. medyo tugma kc lastweek eh nag stay aq sa west hotel sa cebu. pero suspicious kc medyo makulit nga sila tawag tawag eh.. kya i decided na mag search kayao ayun nkita ko tong blog na to.. tnx sa info mga brad.

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  19. Just receive this today as in 15-20mins ago buti na lang naisip ko agad c Mang Google.. Tss smh

    (FORMAL INVITATION)
    To: MR. RUSSEL,

    See you for the proper claiming of your NON expiry privilege hotel accomodation voucher here in our office located at Crown Regency Vacation club Corporate Bldg.
    (2nd Floor)
    #3 Scout Albano St. South Triangle Quezon City. In between Panay Ave & Quezon Ave.
    >Beside Oasis Bar & Grill and Union Bank.
    >Infront of Kanto Bar and Phil. Q Manpower Services.
    >Near at Kenny Rogers corner Quezon Ave. And panay ave.

    Claiming Schedule: TOMORROW SUNDAY, (June 17) anytime in between 1:00pm-3:30pm we can still accomodate you.
    Important Requirements:
    -Bring atleast 1 government issued I.D only together with your wife for proper identification.

    -kindly stay for the 90 mins. Holiday/ awarding presentation for you to see the complete amenities & facilities of our four hotels, free heavy refreshment will be serve during the presentation.

    Note:
    No financial obligation
    No fees to be collected upon claiming.
    Do not bring anything related to your money.

    -Other expenses like transportation, food and reservation fee are not included.

    Kindly look for Ms. Arcelle mendoza our receptionist.
    www.crownregency.com & www.skyexperienceadventure.com
    - Ms. Railey dela cruz,
    (02) 902-2971.
    The GC includes: 3 Days/2 Nights stay at any Crown Regency Hotel (3 hotels in Cebu or 1 villa resort in Agdao Davao) good for 2 adults & 2 kids package. With NO EXPIRY.

    - When using the certificate, all you have to do is call our RESERVATION DEPARTMENT atleast 2 weeks ahead of the intended date of check-in.

    - Upon using the gift certificate, other expenses like transportation, food and reservation fee are not included in the package.

    REMINDERS:
    No financial obligation.
    No commitment.
    No fees to be collected upon claiming.

    www.skyexperienceadventure.com
    (02) 346-8717
    (02) 500-1649.
    Here's our office address:
    Crown Regency Vacation club Bldg.
    (2nd Floor)
    #3 SCOUT ALBANO ST.,
    SOUTH TRIANGLE, QUEZON CITY, IN BETWEEN PANAY AVE & QUEZON AVE.
    > Beside OASIS BAR GRILL & UNIONBANK.
    > INFRONT OF KANTO BAR & PHIL Q MANPOWER SERVICES.
    > Near at Kenny Rogers corner Quezon ave and panay ave.

    Congratulations
    Thank you and God bless.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I just received a call. Same thing. Salamat google.

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  21. I received a call several time same thing as what is written here. asking my confirmation of attending their 90 minute video on saturday august 10, free dinner, claiming my gift certificates na wala daw expiration. wala daw ako babayaran etcetera. Maraming salamat po google. i blocked their number already (0915-340-7055). mag ingat po yung iba. mabuti na lang nabasa ko ang blog dito. tks. god bless.

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  22. I just received a call a few minutes ago and good that I googled it and read your comments. definitely, I am not going to Bacolod to claim my supposed to be "Gift Certificate." thanks to you.

    ReplyDelete

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