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  1. #1

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    Caribbean Cruise Scam - What Can Be Done??

    Does anyone have any experience with these various Caribbean Cruise scams that are out there? My niece (senior in college) got a call from one of them the other day, telling her she "won" a free cruise, and all she has to do is pay the port taxes of $100-something dollars, oh and you can stay in Fort Lauderdale for 2 nights with a rental car for $200 extra, offer expires as soon as the call is over, so no she doesn't have time to think it over, pressure pressure, blah blah. Before she knew it, she authorized $300 on her credit card so she could treat her parents to a cruise.

    As soon as she told me, I knew it was a scam, and loads of websites show it. It has a BBB "F" rating, there are a million hidden charges, you can only book during tiny slivers of the year (for instance, during hurricane season), oh and you have to attend a presentation in which they pressure you for four hours in a tiny room to buy a timeshare.

    http://www.thecaribbeancruisescam.com/
    http://www.ripoffreport.com/cruises/...amas-42928.htm
    http://www.yelp.com/biz/caribbean-cr...ort-lauderdale

    I'm a licensed attorney, so I called them to demand a refund of the $300. The woman screamed at me and told me my niece is a liar, of course they told her she'd have to sit through a timeshare presentation, they have it on tape. I said great, play the tapes. She said we'll play the tapes when you file a lawsuit against us, and slammed the phone down on me.

    Is there nothing else I can do to force these scammers to issue my niece a refund, short of filing something in small claims court? I'd also like to know (1) how they got my niece's mobile number and (2) how I can raise awareness of these scammers to prevent others from getting sucked into it. One of her college classmates also got sucked into a similar scam the other day, so it seems like they go after naive college kids hard.
    Last edited by Cheylana; 05-02-2013 at 02:40 AM.
    "Marge, if you're going to get mad at me every time I do something stupid, then I guess I'm just going to have to stop doing stupid things!" - Homer Simpson in the Mr. Plow episode

  2. #2
    Reality TV's Bytch
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    Call the credit card company to dispute the charge.

  3. #3

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    Thanks....She did call the cc company, and they told her the charge had to clear before she could dispute it (it's still listed as "pending"). They told her it "could go either way" (in terms of whether she'd win the dispute).
    "Marge, if you're going to get mad at me every time I do something stupid, then I guess I'm just going to have to stop doing stupid things!" - Homer Simpson in the Mr. Plow episode

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    Reality TV's Bytch
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    Good. I hope it swings her way.

  5. #5
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    Asking for a refund from the credit card company is definitely the easiest route. I didn't get something I ordered online, and it was pretty painless to do that, even if I had no paperwork to show the item hadn't really arrived.

    I'm not really sure what there is to do about letting people know it's a scam, other than sharing it as a post on Facebook and tell everyone you know to share it. I've gotten some weird unsolicited "life tips" that way....

  6. #6
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    I don't think that is just college students getting that phone call. I have gotten them once a month for nearly a year now. It is just the same old stuff that has been going on for years.

    I hope that the credit card company swings her way.

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    Contact your state's attorney general's office. They usually look into scams. My parents recently got a call that they had won something but had to give credit card number and bank account info to receive their unnamed prize. They played along long enough to get info about where they could send this information when they were able and then notified the state attorney general's office who had been aware of the scam but not previously had enough info to trace it.

  8. #8

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    Yeah, I really should contact the State AG about this.

    I also just noticed there is a website dedicated to exposing this scam: http://www.thecaribbeancruisescam.co..._Services.html

    According to this website (assuming they've got it right), under Florida law you have a right to a refund within 30 days of purchasing the vacation certificate. Cruise is two nights in Ft Lauderdale and then the cruise leaves from somewhere around there. So I think we should continue to press for a refund, in writing. And submit a copy of that refund request to the cc company.
    "Marge, if you're going to get mad at me every time I do something stupid, then I guess I'm just going to have to stop doing stupid things!" - Homer Simpson in the Mr. Plow episode

  9. #9

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    Definitely not just college students they go after. They once called my dad and offered a similar deal. Despite being a very smart guy, my father doesn't usually spot scams right away. He once almost fell for a Kijiji scam (one of those "I'll mail you a money order for payment" and then you end up getting a fake money order for an insane amount of money and then are told to cash it, keep the payment amount, and then wire transfer the remaining amount via Western Union). It went as far as him getting the fake cheque in the mail. He burned the cheque and never contacted the guy again. It's a good thing we moved, because the scammer had our address

    Anyway, back to this cruise scam. He got the call, he put it on speaker and asked me to listen to what the woman was saying (since it appears that I'm good at spotting scams). After about 10 minutes of talk talk talk I gave it thumbs down and he said "no thanks, bye" and hung up. Not surprised when I later searched the company name and it had tons of bad reviews from people who fell for the scam. So it's not limited to naive college students. Oh and this was in Canada, so it seems like it's a North America wide thing.

    Hopefully your niece can find a solution to the problem. And hopefully these scams can be stopped soon.

  10. #10

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    I've gotten those calls before. I am a firm believer in the "if it sounds too good to be true.." mantra and actually, I have probably passed over many good offers from other things before because I didn't trust that there was no secret catch involved. I am not the most trusting person and that sucks sometimes but I never have to worry about falling for scams, haha. I feel badly for the people who come up to me and ask for money because I am convinced they all live in a mansion but are too lazy to work.

    I would definitely just try to deal with the credit card company. If you hound them enough they should reverse the charge. Even if there is a small fee, it is better than being out $300. I would lie to them if I had to, tell them you didn't authorize the charge. You know the scam people don't have anything on tape.
    -Brian
    "Michelle would never be caught with sausage grease staining her Vera Wang." - rfisher

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lilia A View Post
    Definitely not just college students they go after. They once called my dad and offered a similar deal. Despite being a very smart guy, my father doesn't usually spot scams right away.
    I'm sorry your dad went through all of that. I actually had a friend who is an accomplished physician, went to a bunch of name-brand schools and still fell for a cruise scam a couple of years ago. Not only that, they pressured her into buying a timeshare, and suddenly the "free" cruise miraculously became unavailable. My niece is also pretty brainy herself. This does happen to an awful lot of smart people.

    I'm trying to access her vacation information on their website, but log-in information doesn't work, so I can't access her vacation certificate to request a refund. And there's no "forgot your password?" type button. How convenient.
    "Marge, if you're going to get mad at me every time I do something stupid, then I guess I'm just going to have to stop doing stupid things!" - Homer Simpson in the Mr. Plow episode

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigB08822 View Post
    I've gotten those calls before. I am a firm believer in the "if it sounds too good to be true.." mantra
    Me too! The second my niece mentioned this free cruise stuff, I blurted out, "It's a scam." She burst into tears, poor thing
    "Marge, if you're going to get mad at me every time I do something stupid, then I guess I'm just going to have to stop doing stupid things!" - Homer Simpson in the Mr. Plow episode

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheylana View Post
    The second my niece mentioned this free cruise stuff, I blurted out, "It's a scam."
    You sound just like me, haha. It's instinct I guess.

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    I have gotten one of these calls before, perhaps a couple of years ago. Initially I was a little curious, but when it sounded too good to be true and told them no thanks, they argued with me. It is a shame this is still going on.

  15. #15

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    How are they getting people's cell phone numbers, though? It seems someone is selling the information to these jokers. My doctor friend filled out one of those little contest papers at a Milwaukee Brewers game, so either the Brewers sold the info to the cruise ship people or the Brewers allowed the the scammers to circulate the contest at their game. Disgusting, either way. It's why I refuse to enter into raffles and contests at sporting events and similar.
    "Marge, if you're going to get mad at me every time I do something stupid, then I guess I'm just going to have to stop doing stupid things!" - Homer Simpson in the Mr. Plow episode

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    I get these calls fairly often and I just hang up on them. LOL

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheylana View Post
    How are they getting people's cell phone numbers, though? It seems someone is selling the information to these jokers. My doctor friend filled out one of those little contest papers at a Milwaukee Brewers game, so either the Brewers sold the info to the cruise ship people or the Brewers allowed the the scammers to circulate the contest at their game. Disgusting, either way. It's why I refuse to enter into raffles and contests at sporting events and similar.
    I remember when we signed up for DirectTV through AT&T and added a land line through them as well, they told us if we didn't want our number to go on some list we had to pay more money. I was outraged and got really frank with the man. It wasn't his fault but I felt this was such a scam for them to tell us we have to pay them more money if we don't want them giving away our number to people. This is just one of the many ways your cell phones, home phones, etc can all get out to people. You give it to someone (as in a company) and they sell it to someone else. It should be illegal, that number is mine and no one has a right to make money off of it. If anything, I should have the option of selling my number if I want to deal with those phone calls.
    -Brian
    "Michelle would never be caught with sausage grease staining her Vera Wang." - rfisher

  18. #18
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    Besides having our phones on the Do Not Call list, we don't answer the phone unless the caller ID shows a name or number we know. Especially if it's a toll-free number.
    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity”– MLK

  19. #19
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    I have all my phones on Do Not Call list and still get calls.

    I'm cynical by nature so I never answer any questions on the phone. I also hate robots so if you start it with a robot I'm hanging up on you. I've had the cruise more times then I can count. Also the consolidate your credit call endlessly. Never give credit information over the phone if they are the ones calling you with unsolicited deals or prizes.

    But I did hesitate with the microsoft virus scam calls from India. The first time they called it just so happened to coincide with a time the kids were dealing with a virus on their laptop so he got lucky with his timing. Tells me they are a Microsoft technician and there is a problem with viruses being sent from my IP address. My internet and phone being with the same company added to the problem with the kids laptop and he had me for a second. Confused I told him to call back later, that I was on my way out. Went online and searched for similar phone calls and found many had fallen victim to this. He called back a week or so later. After he gave his virus speech I told him I'd researched this after their first phone call and was told Microsoft would never call your home. Asked him why no phone number shows up when he calls me. We went back and forth and he started to threaten me. I laid into him and told him I was reporting this call to the police. He said that he would call the police while he put me on hold. I just wanted to find out if he knew where I was located and actually somehow found out my IP address since the whole point of this is to hack into your computer. So I asked him what police he was going to call. He said your local police. I asked him who my local police were and he couldn't answer. So he's just calling random numbers and doesn't know where I'm located. He then threatened me again that I'd be sorry and I hung up on him. A few months later they call again. This time I told the guy on the phone that they already fixed my problem and I was really greatful, computer was running so well now. He was all confused and asking me if I was sure and I told him yes. He got further flustered and asked me if I was certain and if I gave my credit card number when we did this. I told him no, of course not, why would I need to give my credit card for fixing a virus? I thanked him again for all their help and said I'm really happy with the results. You could hear the confusion in his voice when he said "ok, you're welcome" and I cheerfully wished him a good day.

    http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/w...b-aec78b93f287

    Just wanted to share this as it seems to be increasing in frequency so others can be prepared. They intimidate you into feeling you and your computer are a serious menace and someone unsure might just feel pressured into sitting down in front of their computer and doing what they say.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reuven View Post
    Besides having our phones on the Do Not Call list, we don't answer the phone unless the caller ID shows a name or number we know. Especially if it's a toll-free number.
    Same here. I'm surprised that is not a no-brainer with more people. If I don't know the number, I let it go to voicemail, and my voicemail greeting specifically says that I will not return any calls unless they leave a message. If it's legit, they will leave a message. If not, oh well...

    I work as a receptionist, and it's always fun getting unsolicited sales calls at work. Our purchasing dept. refuses to deal with companies unless we already do business with them, and then there are those calls offering us free subscriptions to trade magazines (yep... always free until that first bill comes!). I just tell them there's no one available to give them the information they are looking for. It's especially amusing when clearly they are foreigners for whom English is far from being their first language, and they try to rephrase a question to which I've given a negative answer, like they're trying to trick me into giving info that I already told them I don't give out. I don't have a whole lot of patience when they start playing that game.
    Last edited by Karina1974; 05-02-2013 at 01:58 PM.

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