Consumer Alert: Hotel Credit Card Scam

Consumer Alert: Hotel Credit Card Scam


You’ve arrived in your hotel room and just finished unpacking your suitcase when the phone rings. You answer the phone and the caller says they are with hotel management, having discovered a problem processing your credit card.

Thinking that the card wasn’t scanned properly you agree to the caller’s request to give them your sixteen digit credit card number, the expiration date and the three-digit security code. To “verify” your information the caller may ask to confirm your home address.

Unauthorized Charges

When your next credit card statement appears, you note the charges from the hotel, but you also find hundreds perhaps thousands of dollars of additional charges for items or services you did not purchase. You’ve been scammed!

Whether you make the connection immediately or not, that call from the front desk was part of a set up. Actually, it wasn’t a hotel representative who called you, rather someone from outside who called in, asked for a random room number and got you. From that point on you were pulled in.

This latest scam surfaced with a vengeance in 2010 and is the talk of consumer websites and scam buster message boards. Consumers are sharing their stories and warning others. Some are clearly embarrassed, realizing just how easily they gave away vital personal information without having their suspicion raised.

Avoiding Scams

How can you avoid this scam or ones like it? That’s easy: when the “front desk” calls requesting your credit card details, explain to the caller that you’ll be right down with your card. The caller will hang up soon as they realize you’re not someone they can con. Then, make a call to the front desk to confirm that it wasn’t the front desk who called you, making a point to speak to the hotel manager to explain what happened. They’ll alert the hotel’s operator to make sure calls aren’t randomly passed through.

Fortunately, your credit card provider protects you from unauthorized purchases, but you’ll still have to go through the hassle of having those charges dropped, your card canceled and a new one issued. Check your credit reports too just in case you supplied just enough information to the scammer for your identity to be compromised.

See Hotel Credit Card Scam

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Categories: Consumer Tips

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".