Hotel guests across the nation need to be aware of a kind of hotel scam that targets patrons of virtually any hotel in which they lodge. The souring thing about this scam is that it is so deceptively simple that even discriminating guests may stumble over it.
The scam happens after a guest checks into the hotel, providing his credit card information to the front desk clerk, receiving his room key, etc. That guest will continue up to his room and begin to settle in.
While this happens, someone outside of the hotel will call the front desk and ask for a certain room number which, in this case, happens to be the new guest.
When the guest picks up the phone, the scammer will pawn himself off like he’s the front desk clerk himself. He’ll explain, in a professional voice, that there was a miscommunication and he needs the guest to read over his credit card number, over the phone. Then the scammer will ask for the security code on the back of the card.
Once those two numbers are obtained, the scammer has the tools he needs to use that guest’s credit card illegally. According to Newsely.com, the scammer may also try to con your address information as well.
If this happens—if a scammer tries to steal your credit card number over the phone via the front desk—tell the caller that you’ll be down to the front desk to verify the request, then hang up. Notify the front desk of what has happened to you.
But if this sounds disturbing, there may be reason to rest assured. Snopes.com reports that many hotels have policies that prevent their front desk clerk from connecting an outside caller to a room without knowing the last name of the guest.
More so, some hotels require that the outside caller verify both the last name of the guest and his hotel room before he’ll connect the call.
“[The scammer’s] demands to be connected to [your room] will be stonewalled by those managing the property’s switchboard unless and until they can also pony up the name that matches with the hotel’s records of who is staying in that room,” reports Snopes.
Snopes warns that sometimes a scammer may call from room-to-room:
“Also, some hotels allow guests to direct dial to other rooms, which means a con artist who took up residence in such an establishment could potentially run this fraud on others staying there by simply placing calls from his room rather than an outside line.”
Snopes recommends that one be vigilant with his information when receiving phone calls while lodging in a hotel.
“It is, therefore, a good idea to always be mindful of the potential for fraud and to make it your own personal policy to never give out credit card information to anyone who calls asking for it, no matter who that person claims to be.”
That means that when you stay at a hotel, make the effort to stop in at the front desk to verify that they are actually the ones trying to contact you. That way, there’s no danger of having your credit card information stolen over the phone.
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