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Lawsuit Offering $900 In Damages For Free Cruise Scam

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People who received a telemarketing call claiming that they had won a "free cruise" could be entitled to monetary damages via a class action lawsuit.

The case, Charvat v Carnival et al, claims that Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Line allowed a marketing group to make pre-recorded telemarketing calls on their behalf, according to the Miami Herald. These robocalls allegedly violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, according to the lawsuit.

A settlement was reached in the lawsuit that helped establish a restitution fund for several thousand people who fell victim to these calls. The fund, the total of which will fall between $7 and $12.5 million, will make payouts to the scam's victims.

Each call a person received entitles them to $300; people can claim up to three calls for a total of $900.

According to WSB, a judge will make a final decision on the settlement during a hearing in April 2018 to determine if monetary damages are valid. The cruise line companies are also entitled to an appeal, which could postpone the restitution or cancel it all together.

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A report from First Orion cited by Refinery29 found that telemarketing calls have doubled and tripled in the previous two years, with attacks on mobile phones become more prevalent. According to the survey's data, 60 percent of cellphone users reported receiving at least one telemarketing call during the month previous to taking the survey.

"Nuisance and scam callers continue to accelerate their efforts to contact people on their mobile numbers, as more and more consumers ignore unknown landline calls," said Jonathan Sasse, CMO at First Orion.

Part of the issue is that cellphones do not have the same traditional phishing filters that personal computers do. Norton spokesman Kevin Haley noted that people generally do not pay as much attention to the security of their cellphones, and echoed Sasse's observation: "When one way gets blocked, the bad guys look to do it another way."

Popular apps such as Call Blocker and Truecaller provide some defense for the average cellphone user, but common sense is also key to avoiding scams, said Haley: "No legitimate business will use iTunes gift cards or Bitcoin as a form of currency."

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The Federal Trade Commission warns customers to be wary of phrases such as "free bonus" or "specially selected." Security experts also encourage avoiding entering one's personal cellphone number online and using a secondary number if possible.

Sources: WSB, Miami Herald, Charvat v Carnival et al, Refinery29 / Featured Image: Mikefairbanks/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Rapidfire/Wikimedia Commons, Victorgigas/Wikimedia Commons

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