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Was it a scam??? Free cruise.

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by daniel, Nov 17, 2011.

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  1. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    So I get this phone call. A recorded voice offers me a free cruise in return for taking their survey. I'm always happy to take a survey, so I take the survey. Three questions: How do I rate the performance of the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, and the President on the debt crisis, from 1 to 5. Maybe half a minute to answer them all.

    Then they connect me to someone calling himself Fred Jones who explains the deal: A free two-day cruise to Grand Bahama from Palm Beach, FL. Port tax and gratuities not included. I can book the cruise any time in the next 18 months, but I have to pay $118 port tax now.

    I ask two questions: How much do most people give in gratuities, and why do they demand the port tax today, rather than at the time of booking the trip? Fred cannot answer either question, so he connects me to Justin, who also cannot answer the questions.

    I point out that I have no idea if he is who he says he is. He could be a con man trying to get my credit card. He deflects the question by talking about how reputable Caribbean Cruise Lines is. He claims the state of Virginia is somehow involved, and certainly I would not imagine that the state of Virginia is supporting a scam. I repeat that I have no way of knowing if anything he is saying is true, because the survey company called me. I don't know if I'm talking to a legitimate rep for the cruise line, or a scam artist.

    So we've reached an impasse and I say goodbye.

    I didn't tell him that I get seasick and a cruise doesn't really interest me all that much. Hey, I had nothing better to do for a few minutes.

    So my question is: Was this a scam? Or are they really just trying to fill empty cabins (as Fred claimed) to generate positive word of mouth, and (as Justine added) perhaps get me into the ship's casino?

    Secondary question: Is a two-day cruise to Grand Bahama even worth the $118 port tax? (That's for two people. I could have taken up to 3 people with me, doubling the port tax, which is $59 per person.) Meals are included. Alcohol probably not. Non-alcoholic drinks, I didn't ask.
    1 person likes this.
  2. macmaster05

    macmaster05 Senor Member

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    Definitely a scam. The beauty about the internet today is that nobody gets away with anything. A simple Google search says it all:

    caribbean cruise line scam - Google Search

    To answer your second question, forget about it. Move on. It was a scam. :)
  3. airportkid

    airportkid Will Fly For Food

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    Scam. Positively. No legitimate company would staff something with people unable to answer logical questions about it. The "survey" was an obvious sham, with only 3 questions. It was window dressing to make the "giveaway" seem legit. But the demand for $118 up front is the clincher. A legitimate operation would ask only for your mailing address so they could mail you a raft of paperwork that would equire your signature - most important - your signature giving them free use of your image, experiences, etc. on the cruise to use in advertising. They wouldn't request ANY money up front and certainly not your credit card info. Anytime anyone offers you something worth $1000 and wants, RIGHT NOW, up front earnest money of $100, it's a scam. Period. You were correct to hang up - well, had you thought about it, you'd've gotten out of them THEIR address so you could report them to the police, but hopefully they'll call someone else with at least as much intelligence as you have and that person will think to call the police. The address they'd furnish would be a blind, of course, but even blinds have enough information to find the trail to the real address.
  4. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    'Reputable' would be Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.

    Drop that single word, and now we are talking about a completely different company, operating a single ship on a single route, mostly under the name Celebration Cruise Line, which took over the operations of a previous company a couple years ago.

    Wikipedia mentions: "The Ship is available for cruises to be purchased directly from Celebration Cruise Lines; however, it is primarily used as a lure by time share companies to attract clientele. The time share vacation packages are often comparable in price to traditional cruise lines."
  5. J5A

    J5A Active Member

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    If it seems fishy, it's a fish.
    99.9999999999% of the time, if it seems too good to be true, it is.
    The other 0.0000000001% is still probably too good to be true, too. :)
    2 people like this.
  6. amm0bob

    amm0bob Permanently Junior...

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    You were a smart man for backing out before you gave them what they came for in the first place Bra... my ex was not so lucky, but then again, she is always looking for how to get over on someone, so I'm thinking karma came her way...

    I am glad you didn't join with those taken in by the scam...
  7. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    OF COURSE it is a scam. Sheesh

    The seminal features are no different than a Nigerian distressed widow offer, only the labels have changed.
  8. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    The main thing about them, the main reason I'd NEVER have given them any money, was that THEY phoned ME, so I had no idea who I was actually talking to. I NEVER give money to or buy anything from ANYONE who calls me. I'm actually amazed that they can phone people and get them to give them money. ANYBODY can pick up a phone, call people, say "I'm selling X, please give me your credit card number." Running the sham survey takes a LITTLE more sophistication, probably a computer to go through the questions and respond to the replies, but plenty of kids could program a computer to do that.

    It also didn't make sense that a "free" cruise would be offered in return for taking a short survey. Nielson will give you a dollar (or is it $5?) for participating in their survey for a month.

    What I didn't know was that the cruise is real, but it's on a converted ferry boat, not even a real cruise ship (from the link macmaster05 posted above). Or that the REAL scam is that you have to listen to a 5-hour plug for time-shares. I just thought that maybe they'd charge people's credit cards and there wouldn't even actually be a cruise.

    The world's full of crooks, and even more full of gullible people who'll fall for them.

    I never give money over the phone unless I've made the call (so I know who I'm talking to) to a company I have good reason to believe is reputable.

    Thanks to everyone above.
  9. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    You answer your phone to unknown numbers? :eek:

    If my phone rings and it doesn't bring up either a local number or a name then it gets sent straight to answerphone. :rolleyes:
  10. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    The number of fraudulent or illegal (i.e. violations of the federal Do Not Call list) calls customized with local numbers has risen sharply in the past few months.
  11. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    I have not memorized the numbers of everyone who might legitimately phone me. Someone in my association arranges for a company to come in and clean the dryer vents, or scrape an unusually heavy snowfall from our porch "roofs," or calls about some other association-related matter; or a friend calls from someone else's cell phone; or any one of a myriad of other people I'd want to talk to but whose number I don't know.

    I shut off the ringer when I go to bed or take a nap. Other than that, it's no big deal to answer the phone. I'm retired. I have the time. If I'm busy, I don't answer. If I'm driving I NEVER answer. If I'm home, I'm probably not doing anything important and distractions are usually welcome.

    One of my biggest regrets is that my association is posted "No Solicitors" so I don't get the religious nut jobs coming to the door to argue with. I love arguing with those wackaloons.
  12. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) Aspiring Hypocommuter.

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    I don't take solicitations, and I don't answer the phone if I don't recognize the number---ever.
    If it's important, or if it's a long lost friend....they'll leave a message.

    As far as whether or not this was a scam, it probably---almost certainly was.
    People usually have a fairly keen feces-detector.
    Almost always, the victim will dismiss this alarm as being false just before they get took. Then.....being deeply embarrassed at having been took, they fail to pop a flare over the authorities, and so the cycle continues for a bit.


    Take away: Listen to your gut.
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  13. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    Got a free cruise call the other day on my messages on my cell phone.
    The call came in BLOCKED number so I ignored it.
    Too bad, it was sailing outta Baltimore.
  14. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    I have a cousin who blocks her caller ID and never answers her phone. If I used your system I'd never be able to talk to her. We'd be playing infinite phone tag.

    I see no harm in answering an unknown call. It might be someone I want to talk to, and if not I can hang up.
  15. Trebuchet

    Trebuchet Senior Member

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    Let me guess as a liberal you answered the first question "great" the second "terrible" and the last "wonderful" they probably had more questions but it only took your answers to those three for them to know they had a sucker on the line, ergo, direct transfer to the scam.

    Of course it's a scam Daniel. :rolleyes: Why do you listen to recorded calls? Just HANGUP! you're only encouraging them to make more by listening.
  16. Chuck.

    Chuck. Honda Enzyte Driver

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    If you Google numbers like this, a number of sites will appear, usually identifying it as a scam.

    I'd love to develop iPhone app that detects such phone numbers with the option of ignoring the call, or replies with a long, annoying response. :p
  17. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Unfortunately, many of the spam calling sites have developed methods to make calls appear to originate from local numbers, and the numbers shift. This makes Google and auto-blocking not quite so effective.

    Tom
  18. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    On their scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the best, I gave the Dems and the President 3, and the Repubs 1.

    You are mistaken in calling me a liberal. I am a socialist. I voted for Obama not because I liked his policies (which are middle-of-the-road and compromise far too much with reactionaries) but because I consider him a basically honest man, something we've not had in the White House since I've been old enough to be aware of politics. I won't say more because this is not the politics forum. But you do me an injustice when you call me a liberal. Liberals are far too moderate for me. I would discard capitalism in favor of a free-market system in which the owners of labor, that is, the workers, rather than the owners of capital, that is, the idle rich, have the say in the running of companies. NOTE: I would not discard the market or money and I would not (as in the former Soviet Union) give business decisions to the government. Companies would still compete as now. But the decisions and the profits would belong to those who do the work, rather than to those who merely provide the capital.

    Obama does not represent me. But he's the first man to hold the office in my memory who is not a scoundrel.
  19. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    A few random calls here and there didn't used to bother me, but lately it's become excessive. The scams are pretty easy to spot - you're calling from a bank I don't deal with? You want me to pay for something I 'won'? Uh...no. Go away.

    For the past couple of months, the parasites call ten times a day, and it's getting beyond annoying. So, I signed up for my telco's call blocking service, but - surprise, surprise - it doesn't work for 1-800 numbers. @%&!!! Clearly, the telcos make more money from the scammers than they do from me.
  20. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    The most frequent annoying call I get is "I'm calling from Credit Card Services. There's nothing wrong with your account..." that's when I hang up. Of course they spoof the caller ID number so there's no way to spot or block it. And of course as mentioned above, I don't want to send every unrecognized number to voicemail.
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