RonO (rono_60103) wrote,

Oops, Prank or Scam

This morning as I was waiting to get of The Coaster, I noticed a new flyer in the flyer area near the exit. This flyer, which looks like it was produced either in-house or at a low-end print shop (i.e. it is 8.5x11 paper, printed and hand folded), announces "San Diego Vintage Trolley, Inc." They flyer explains that this is a new 501(c)3 subsidiary of the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS), dedicated to restoring 3 vintage trolleys to run on the MTS trolley lines near downtown. The flyer includes several nice pictures, a form to mail support (including donations) and a link to a web site:

This interested me enough -- largely because the map showing where the trolley would be running was not readable (or showed no actual "silver line" for the vintage cars) -- so I tried to access the website. That was were things got interesting.

When I pulled up the site, I got one of the "parking sites" that is just a bunch of links. From this, I concluded that the flyer was one of three things: a mistake, in that it was released before everything was ready; a prank; or a scam.

I did a bit more poking around when I had a brief break this morning. I was able to determine that the phone number led to someone at the MTS offices, where I left a voice mail letting them know that they either had flyers with their number on The Coaster, or that their website was down. I was also able to confirm that the mailing address at least resolves (according to Google) to the MTS offices. Based on those, I have mostly discounted the idea that this is a scam -- a scam would have had somewhere else to get mail and donations, and might not have sent the phone to someone at the MTS. (Of course a well done scam would also have had a live website since those are probably as easy or easier to set up than a PO Box).

I'm kind of hoping that this is just an early release of the flyers, a release of some draft flyers, or a mistake with their web host. Ten years ago I thought that it was neat that Melbourne used mostly vintage trams on their downtown loop (which is, or at least was, free -- something for people going to Aussicon next year to remember), and would think that this was just as neat in my city.

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