People to People Scam
It all starts with by receiving a ostentatious envelope and folder with flattering things about the student. Usually students get invited because of their sport prowess or because of because of high grades. Plus, this type of letters are normally signed by someone whose last name is iconic in American society. This program is not prestigious in the sense that all you need to go is a checkbook, and they get the names of the students not because of their prowess or grades but from various databases. It’s not like they’re actively evaluating individuals and deciding who to choose.
Their invitation methods are at least bizarre.
In Tennessee, a student got invited on a People to People trip this summer with other “high school students” thing is died back in 1996 when she was 10 days old.
CBS News found the same story in Iowa – a boy supposedly “recommended for the honor” of a People to People trip for his “outstanding middle school achievements.” Impossible, said the mom in a letter, because her son “died at seven weeks of age in 1993.”
So as you can see, although it’s not a ‘scam’ in terms of illegal activity it certainly is one of those ‘scams’ where they go after naive parents promising great fame and glory if they just pony up some cash. It’s a VERY expensive program depending upon the trip it can run $5,000 to $8,000 and higher.Many parents scrape even fund-raise to get this sort of money, and this is per child! All this because they believe their kids won an honor from a non-profit organization.
If you wanted a true exchange experience, you’d be better served by using that money with a group like YFU or AFS and taking a year exchange instead of 16 days.
They say People to People Ambassador Programs offers educational travel for students in grade school through college. If you received one of those fancy letters and if you need further information on this program, search no more, you can see a full detailed CBS News video here