Free Cruise Automated Phone Call: Real Deal Or Not?
How the scam works:
(with scam caught on camera video below)
A fake free cruise is offered via a phone call. Free vacation from some of the most popular travel agencies is always nice to have, but watch out for this scam. Let's take a look.
Imagine this: you get a call from a travel agency informing you that, because of a promotion or a radio station contest, you are eligible to receive a free cruise. That's a vacation, for which you don't have to pay.
The only condition for you to fully qualify are that you answer correctly three quiz questions, or sometimes not even that. To make sure you can receive the free cruise, a full conversation is being established.
But how does the scam work? Watch the video below to see in action the Free Cruise scam caught on tape:
One variation of the scam comes through a phone call from a fake radio station, promising you a free cruise to a Bahamas. All you have to do is to answer three questions and – if you do it correctly – you qualify! Of course you answer right, and then you are invited to call the 'station'. There you have to only pay $59.99 for some fees and you get your free cruise!
There are some good news about these sneaky robocalls: if you got a spam call about a free cruise you may be owed $900 in restitution, according to a new class action lawsuit. See if your phone number is listed on the settlement here.
Free Cruise? Only 'Minor' Taxes And Booking Charges
In the second variation of the Free Cruise scam, you get the call you've been waiting for to break you out of your mundane, day-to-day existence. A nice person on the other line tells you you've just won a free Florida or Bahamas cruise! She begins telling you about the white, sandy beaches and how the cruise ship has a casino.
She almost seems more excited than you are!
After building the trip up for almost three minutes the caller offhandedly mentions that you only have to pay some minor taxes and booking charges, to the tune of about $200. You figure that still sounds like a great deal, so you pay.
It's a real deal and you receive the plane ticket confirmation the next day. The trick is, the ticket is a companion ticket, meaning you can't take the flight unless your guest pays the full fare. You decide this still sounds advantageous, since you both fly for the price of one and you've already sunk some money in; so you and your partner again accept.
Attend A Timeshare Presentation, Prison-Style
You fly to Florida and they meet you at the airport. They take you to a beautiful hotel and everything seems to be going to plan. They tell you about the departure of the cruise, which happens tomorrow.
After they set you up at the hotel, they mention you have to attend a one-hour timeshare presentation tomorrow morning. You tell them that wasn't part of the original deal, and they tell you that you won't have your return flight taken care of unless you go.
At the presentation, which is the main part of the scam, the company is very pushy and aggressive and they do things that are borderline illegal to get you to sign up to buy a time-share. This is really intense, almost threatening. Also, it ends up being a lot longer (six hours instead of one) so they can suck a few more people into buying. After the presentation, you finally get to go on the ship.
Unfortunately, it isn't the majestic wonder you were told it would be; most likely, it's more than 25 years old and smaller than a usual cruise vessel. It's also a gambling ship that features nothing other than casino tables and machines. It's just another way to suck money out of your pockets.
There are a couple of ways this can shake out. Some people will have to fly to the departure city on their own dime. Others will just take your credit card number and run.
How To Avoid The Free Cruise Scam:
If you win something, you win it. You will never have to pay to claim that prize and if someone is telling you otherwise, they're taking you for a ride. Feel free to contribute below in the Comments section with names of questionable people or businesses approaching you.
On the other hand, if you like to travel make a habit of reading blogs from top travel influencers. They typically report these kind of traps and share many tips when it comes to travel.
How To Report The Free Cruise Callers:
Make your family and friends aware of this scam by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:
How To Protect Yourself More:
If you want to be the first to find out the most notorious scams every week, feel free to subscribe to the Scam Detector newsletter here. You'll receive periodical emails and we promise not to spam. Last but not least, use the Comments section below to expose other scammers.
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