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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44 Comments on The Free Cruise Telemarketing Scam

  1. BugChasingCharles // June 10, 2014 at 6:16 am // Reply

    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.

  2. disqusingthis // May 29, 2014 at 3:10 pm // Reply

    Cruise scam robocall from 714-316-9648. Prompted to press 1 or 2. Neither worked. I’m in SoCal. I’m pretty sure they spoof their caller ID to appear to be local.

  3. 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!! :)

  4. 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

  5. Congratulations on winning tickets to the Bahamas! Call 305.615.3952

    I tooka sh-t, took a picture of it and texted it to the number :)

  6. we get these all the time here in BC canada from 16475575019, they give a press 9 to opt out of these and we will tak eyour number off our list YEAH RIGHT!!!! we get one a day for last 4 months soooo annoying

  7. Received a text today from “[email protected]” saying “Please claim your tickets to the Bahamas soon! Call 256 392 7561.” Googled the email address/provider, and nothing came up. Googled “free bahamas tickets text” and found this website. Please add this number to your list for DNC. Also, since a lot of us have started getting texts vs calls, it would probably be a good idea to add an update to the main article!

  8. Exactly this cruise scam. I get this phone call 2-3 times a month. Never pressed any key. Add 438-800-0478 to the list.

  9. Add this number to the list 214-316-9648

  10. add 2162825600

  11. This one came from ontario Canada today, offering me a couple of Bahamas Cruise tickets for free after completion of a short survey. It was an automated message.
    1 (289) 378 3504

  12. Add the number 306-993-0640

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

  14. they called like 30 times in 10 minutes! add 2813682880, when i called back they said something but i couldn’t hear. i think it was a lady.

  15. 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.

  16. “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”

  17. Okay, I have just got to say… I DID work for this company they are based in Tampa, Florida. From what I have gathered is none of you understand the concept that you are getting a “Free Cruise” just imagine this for a moment…. If you go to “The Price is Right” and you win a “NEW CAR” do you think they will let you keep it without paying taxes on it? Not enough? If you go gamble at a Casino and you win BIG… Don’t you have to pay taxes on it before you can even spend it? Or you have to file a W-9 so you have to give some of it back later… $69 Port tax is a government tax that cannot be avoided. Raise your hand if you believe our government will give you things for free without paying for it in some fashion. Although I do not believe in how we get people to call our office. I have been on the cruise and it is what we say it is just get past the taxes and you will be fine. Reason I say I did work there and not still working there is because I made supervisor at my other job which covered my expenses. ONE MORE THING!!!! You people out there buying crap over the phone “makes your hair grown 10 times faster” if you can trust giving your information like that over the phone to those people you would likely get transferred to that Cruise Company. They say free they mean it as in The Cruise Itself… You just need to understand about tax issues that cannot be avoided.

  18. just got one from 8556790018 for a free cruise to the Bahamas. June 20,2013

  19. 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.

  20. 321 559 2898 be carefull they ask for your banking account number for taxes fees this is a fraud

  21. I recieved an text message today stating greetings you gained a cruise vacation free and it came from ian_bennett0545…..the number is 888-840-4825. i was told all i would have to pay for is my port fees for $69. sounded sketchy…..so i hung up

  22. 18004661524 add this to the list

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

  24. I get these annoying calls almost everyday and each time it is a different number. today it was 4582010358. isn’t there any way to track these guys and run them over with a truck or something?

  25. just answer one or two questions incorrectly then put the phone down and walk away for about five minutes. they’ll be gone. That will gum up their system and make you feel better.
    Keep doing it and they will stop.

  26. NameLessZombie // November 28, 2012 at 8:09 am // Reply

    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?

  27. i win a cruise with free cruise.com 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. me too hey do you have a septic tank lol

  31. 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

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

  33. 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.

  34. Squirt and Mrs. Squirt // September 25, 2012 at 10:49 am // Reply

    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 surveycruise.com. 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!

  35. Laira Applebaum // September 24, 2012 at 8:16 am // Reply

    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.”

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

  37. chris harriett // September 7, 2012 at 9:55 am // Reply

    all you people are a joke. get a life the cruise is real. i took at and was very happy. you get what you pay for. thats all now. goodbye

    • bradley epimenides // October 24, 2012 at 10:18 am // Reply

      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.

    • You must work for the scammers.

  38. Harrassment // August 16, 2012 at 7:37 am // Reply

    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?

  39. 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?

  40. i don’t get it. what’s the point? anyway, add 503-260-4864

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