It was around this time last year that people in the U.S. were being hounded relentlessly by “free cruise” telemarketing calls. Now it appears that these pests have set their sights north of the border and are now bothering Canadians with the same bogus offer.
A friend of ours in Canada alerted us to a call she received from 202-407-3261. Oddly, this is a number originating in Washington D.C., not Canada. Calling this number back yields an out of service message, meaning the number may be spoofed or they aren’t allowing incoming calls.
These telemarketers have been calling untold numbers of Canadians, offering free cruises and/or trips to the Bahamas.
We have written extensively on these scams. A good place to start is our article from January of 2012, which is still completely relevant, entitled “The Free Cruise Telemarketing Scam.” Here we discussed how these people call promising a free cruise, but want you to answer a survey first. The problem is, the cruise isn’t really free, and in some cases there’s not really a prize at all. They get your survey answers, and you get a runaround that doesn’t always include a cruise. In other cases, we’ve heard of a cruise actually existing, but with hidden fees thrown in that doesn’t quite make it free, or even inexpensive. Or in another version, no matter what dates you select, they won’t be available, but you’ll be offered an “upgrade” rate to get in when you want.
It’s just a classic bait-and-switch ploy.
If you’ve been called by these people, let us know – and drop the phone number in the comments below so others can find this article and be forewarned!
We have been informed that these telemarketers have been calling Canadians in large volume from 514-392-9199 and 202-427-2637. When you call the latter number back, you’ll receive an error message that states:
You number you are trying to call is unreachable. PPS 6180.
The code “PPS 6180” is merely a code for pre-paid accounts meaning that the customer’s balance has reached $0. How’s that for a professional service?
Article updated April 20, 2013.