Free Cruise: Phone Scam Overview
Who wouldn’t want a free cruise to Hawaii or the Caribbean? We know that if we won a free cruise we certainly wouldn’t give it up. Scammers knowing the temptation of a free vacation use this as a common ploy to phish for information and steal money.
The free cruise phone scam starts with a simple survey call and then turns into a phishing scheme involving live callers. We’ll go over how to avoid this scam and report it.
How the Free Cruise Phone Scam Works
The free cruise scam is one of the most common phone scams targeting Americans. Our online phone book has plenty of examples of this scam:
(603) 367-0762: A women saying the call is being recorded...calling about cruises available
(832) 963-3916: Tried to convince me that I won a jackpot cruise trip when I didn't join any contests! Total scam!!
(901) 457-1906: Left the sorriest voicemail it was automated but asked you questions and each time her response was "what was that , I couldn't understand you" I had won a cruise was reason for calling. Sadly I had not signed up to win one
In all of these situations the automated call claimed that a cruise had been won after signing up in a contest or participating in a survey. This is how the scam starts out. First you will receive an automated call asking you to participate in a quick survey. Generic questions will be read and you are asked to press “1” for yes and “2” for no. A couple of days later you’ll get another call saying that you’ve won a free cruise due to your participation in the phone survey.
The second call may be a live person or another automated call asking you to call back to collect your prize cruise. When you start to hear the details about the cruise, you’ll find out that you’re going to get VIP treatment. It sounds too good to be true and there’s just one catch. You need to pay the taxes on the vacation in order to enjoy it.
This is a major red flag. If the cruise was really free then everything should be covered and you shouldn’t have to give any financial information to claim it.
How to Avoid the Scam
To avoid the free cruise phone scam keep in mind these key things:
Don’t participate in phone surveys.
Whenever you get an automated call asking you to press numbers, just hang up. It doesn’t matter if the call is asking you to press a number to answer a question or to be added to a no call list, always hang up. Pressing a number on these calls will only alert the spammer that your phone number is active and you’ll see an increase in the amount of calls you receive.
Never share personal or financial information with unsolicited callers.
If you don’t remember participating in any survey or signing up for a contest and a caller is asking for personal information, end the conversation. Even if you may have participated in a survey or signed up for a contest if the caller starts asking you for financial information hang up. Never share sensitive information with an unknown caller.
Avoid unknown calls in general.
It’s best to avoid calls from unknown numbers and let them go to voicemail. The less you engage with spam callers, the less likely they will be to continue calling you.
How to Report the Free Cruise Scam
If you don’t have an iPhone, you can still report the number that spammed you with free cruise offers by leaving your feedback in our online phone directory.