Scams & Deception

The Free Cruise Telemarketing Scam

The Free Cruise Telemarketing Scam

So you received a call saying you’ve won a free cruise, or that you’ll earn a free cruise by answering some survey questions? Sounds too good to be true, right? We’ve already written extensively about specific phone numbers that have been calling with such offers over the past six months, but we thought it was time to discuss the scam in general, and provide a master list of numbers we’ve tracked so far about the scam.

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“Free” Cruise

You may be asking, if they give away a free cruise, maybe it’s worth answering the survey, right? The problem is, it isn’t really free, and in some cases there’s not really a prize at all. Yep – they get your survey answers, and you get a runaround that doesn’t always include a cruise. In other cases, I’ve heard of a cruise existing, but with hidden fees thrown in that doesn’t quite make it free, or even cheap. Or in another incarnation, no matter what dates you select, they aren’t available, but you’ll be offered an “upgrade” rate to get in when you want.

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See where we’re going here?

The bottom line is that these people have been hammering the phone system, placing untold thousands of calls for such “free” cruises. That fact alone smells rotten, and you will be better served ignoring or hanging up on any such offer.  Why are they trying so hard to give something away?

Here’s a great article from 2010, showing that the scam really hasn’t changed much since then. Further searching will reveal that this scam has been along much longer, for many years in fact. Not once have I come across someone who went through the process and didn’t feel scammed in some way.

As quoted in an earlier Waffles article about this scam…

A recent trend in telemarketing comes into play here, that of being compensated for filling out a survey. In the most common version coming from this number, people are asked to answer ten questions and will be rewarded with tickets to a cruise, perhaps to the Bahamas or a similar location. Sometimes they will make it sound like you’ve actually “won” a cruise and simply have to answer ten questions in order to collect your “winnings.”

There are lots of numbers jumping on this bandwagon, that blew up phones around the country back in September. Ripoff Report claims that one of the similar numbers, 541-530-7708, belongs to United Public Opinion Group, found at I wasn’t able to verify this, however, but the website does show a business eerily similar to the one calling people from these numbers.

Many people have claimed that calls from them begin with a horn blowing and/or a message saying, “This is your captain speaking…” It’s hard to imagine different companies would have such a distinctive opening, so one must deduce that all of these cruise calls originate from the same company.

It’s unknown how many different firms are participating in this offer, but it’s most likely only a small handful of places, and perhaps even just one. The phone numbers they use are most likely spoofed, as they keep changing from week to week, and customers are unable to call them back.

March 2013 Update

We’re hearing about a large volume of calls regarding this scam in Canada.

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  • Fred Z

    We are receiving this call for a cruise from a Houston,Tx. number 832 727 4840 sometimes a hang up.

  • BugChasingCharles

    I got these same called recently spammed to me. The article looked fake the website they brought me to was poorly done. They said if I hung up, the promotion is gone for me but wouldn’t wrap these up with me at all.

  • Jen

    I just got this scam survey cruise call from (438) 800-0437. I live in Ontario, Canada. Thecall started with a recorded message. I figured it was a scam & hung up. Ain’t nobody got time fo dat!! :)

  • Karla

    I received a text about an hour ago from ([email protected])

    Said “call us to claim your two tickets on our cruise. 954-507-7628”

    I’m in inland empire California

  • Richy

    Add this phone number: 1-202-465-5586
    They call you for same scam.

  • Chris

    Mhakoi, interesting perspective. I definitely disagree with the method the company you worked for uses as marketing. There are probably better was to go about finding customers.

    Anyway, the only way I found this article is because the company apparently has our apartment’s elevator phone number. They literally called our elevator. It was the weirdest thing. No idea where the call came from, since it was just playing the message through the intercom. I’m sure the maintenance people have some way of finding it.

  • Mhakoi

    “Guys no company will ask for your Card number and id code over phone”

    Call that 1-800 number you just watched on TV about No No… Get hat hair removed crap… pay over the phone?!?!? Read the reviews on that product but people out there buy into it some people like it and some “Act like you”

  • waffles

    This appears to be one of these telemarketers. You can ignore it unless there is some reason you need to talk to them due to a previous transaction.

  • waffles

    Thanks for the comment. If you get more info, please let us know!

  • NameLessZombie

    OK so we all agree this is annoying and that there is likely a legal case that could be mounted against the company, but hasn’t anyone tried to track down the physical location(s) of the caller(s)?

    What would happen if a bunch of us went to visit? Maybe we could all bring some “free” food that’s VERY tasty . . . but gives them a similar aftertaste that we feel from the calls? I’m sure we could think of many interesting “free” things to give these people (and yes, that includes all the “innocent” phone operators who “don’t know” they’re operating a scam).

    That said, these calls depend on a phone system that has to be running somewhere. There are likely many of these starting points, but as their website clearly shows, errors do happen. What if they didn’t get a dial tone when they turned on the autodialer?

  • tadas

    i win a cruise with free i have talk about an houwer thei give my couple telepfone nr.thei take my bank card details for comfirmation and when i trie to contakt them the fone nr not egsist so what i do now give my any idiea.thanks wery much.

  • Seriously?

    These people call our business phone lines every day. I have repeated submitted a request to have our number put on their do not call list, to no avail. Guess it’s time to start playing with them.

  • stop

    I already stated this is Caribbean Cruise Line and The Berkley Group based out of Florida. But it has not been posted on here. I cant wait until they are in prison and out of business.

  • Christy

    Pineview Styles I just got an offer too and the girl at the end was very fast talking like she wanted to get off the phone Wow unreal I was dumb as well and answered the questions. Why would anyone care if I had a septic tank. That should have been a give in. Of corse I live in the country lol

  • waffles

    If you try your idea – let us know how it goes!

  • Carl Lafong

    Remember, its not an obscene phone call if they call you. Once you lie your way to an ‘operator’ Ask about their underwear and sex fantasies.

  • Squirt and Mrs. Squirt

    Got a call from the same number, with the same horn and captain! I almost want to go along with the show and see what they have to say, minus giving them the credit cards and so on of course…… Can’t log into Strange. Must not be illegal somehow? Wouldn’t a large scale public operation get shut down? If you give your bank account to one of those Arabs in the emails who inherited umpteen million dollars and are trying to sneak it out of the country, you’re stupid. But are these deals somehow “legal”? And how do you get a job working with them? Not that I’d want to, but it WAS a real dude that confirmed my phone number and zip code!
    Interesting interesting interesting!

  • Laira Applebaum

    I just got the call from 202-805-3158 too. I took the survey and thought it was fishy sounding, so I did not answer the questions truthfully. The companies hiring this Survey-Cruise company should know that the answers they get are skewed by the person’s mistrust of the phone call. Not a company worth hiring using such deceptive techniques. If they had politely asked me to answer a random 1-minute survey, I would have said yes, and they would have spared me this disappointment. :(

    “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

  • L Mann

    I got a call from this same number 12 minutes ago!!

  • Harrassment

    These people called my daughters phone, I answered and took the survey, then when I spoke to a person I told them that they were calling a minors phone and that we are on the “do not call list”, they said they were just going to keep calling the phone, and have since called 3-4 times a day. Does anyone have a suggestion to resolve this issue?

  • Dang…

    I was dumb enough to answer that survey months ago. After a week I considered it to good to be true & asked them to stop calling, they did….. Are there any potential dangers I should be concerned of now?

    • waffles

      Unless you gave them your credit card info, I wouldn’t worry.

  • bradley epimenides

    How foolish of you. Why would people come on here and lie about such a scam? Do you work for these idiots or do they come through for one out of a thousand just to keep a facade or legitimacy.

  • Seriously?

    You must work for the scammers.

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