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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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.

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 surveycruise.com. 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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  • Emily

    Just got the free cruise scam call from this number, (646) 265-8676, originating in New York state according to my phone.

  • 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.

  • L Mann

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

  • Seth

    It IS illegal, actually. Also, personally, I like cruises. However, Chris Harriett is obviously just trolling. Please don’t feed the troll; they do exist everywhere. He obviously wasn’t the single person out of hundreds of thousands of others to magically get the cruise. Not to mention he said “You get what you pay for”… I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually pay for things that are ‘free’. But hey, for all we know, Chris could be The Captain :o

    On a side note, go ahead and add 360 460 5570

  • waffles

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

  • 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

    me too hey do you have a septic tank lol

  • waffles

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

  • 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.

  • 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”