Hotel & Hospitality Scams

A SCARS Scam Warning

Beware Of The Latest Hotel & Hospitality Industry Scams When You Travel

Planning To Travel And Stay In A Hotel Any Time Soon?

Beware of new hotel scams that are catching hundreds of thousands of victims right now!

Remember, keep your personal information protected since tourist and business travelers are often considered the easiest targets. Hotels provide scammers an easy path towards their goal of trying to separate a traveler from their cash.

Here Are The Most Common Hotel Scams To Be Aware Of:

Fake Website

When making online hotel reservations, make certain the website is legitimate. Scammers are famous for creating look-alike (spoofed) web pages to lure consumers into providing credit card information. Use Google to find the real website rather than typing it in from memory.

Fake Food Delivery

Make sure the menus left in the hotel room are authentic. Dining-in can feel like a tempting option, especially after a day of traveling or exploration, but you could end up ordering from a restaurant that doesn’t even exist.

Scammers will distribute fake menus to rooms with phone numbers that connect the caller to them instead of the hotel or a real business. They will collect the caller’s credit card information over the phone then never deliver food. Many hotels have a printed guide or directory, look in there for local restaurants, or again, use Google!

Before deciding to order out, do some research and make sure the business exists. Confirm with the front desk or consierge for restaurant recommendations.

Fake Front Desk Calls

Hotel guests may receive a late-night phone call from someone impersonating the front desk.

The caller asks for credit card information claiming there’s a problem with the credit card on file – they may say it was declined, they need to re-verify payment information, or that they lost all of the financial information and need to run an audit by a certain time.

The scammer will offer to take your credit card information over the phone so that you’re not inconvenienced. However, a real hotel staff member will never ask for your credit card information over the phone at odd hours of the night well after you’ve checked in and will always ask to settle up any charges at the front desk. A real hotel will allow you to pay at checkout. It is always best to go down to the front desk and ask,

When the person calls, ask them for their phone number so you can give it to the front desk to be blocked.

Always notify the hotel management of any calls of this nature.

“Free” Wi-Fi Connections

When staying at a hotel, free internet access is often touted as a benefit of being a guest, however, this also provides scammers an “in.” Wireless internet “skimming” targets travelers with the promise of free internet access. This usually appears in the common areas of the hotel. The connection is free to access but it’s not safe. Most of the time a hotel scam artist is controlling the connection through their computer, collecting all the data the traveler transmits – websites accessed, passwords used, card information, etc.

Always ask the front desk clerk for the correct wifi.

Before joining a network, make sure the Wi-Fi connection is secure and hosted through the hotel. Many secured connections require a two-step verification process. Instead, consider using your cellphone provider network after checking the data usage allowed or your provider’s hotspot if available.

Also, when you are ready to connect and see the wifi choices, call the front desk and ask for the correct wifi identity before connecting.

Checkout Scam

When checking into a hotel, the front desk always asks to give a form of payment to keep on file, such as a credit or debit card, for incidentals. However, at checkout guests can decide to pay with another method, such as cash.

No matter what payment method is used, get a receipt – usually, most hotels will slide a copy under your room door – but if they don’t ask for it. This provides a record of all charges during the stay so if the payment changes from credit to cash, you can dispute any charges to the credit card on file if that should happen and have the receipt to prove it.

The best way to prevent being scammed at checkout is to use the form of payment that you put on file when checking in. Consider using a credit card versus a debit card. If your number is compromised, using your debit card provides access to the checking account and a potentially challenging situation in correcting the situation with the bank. Another solution for many bank users is to turn off your card after making each transaction – fake charges will happen randomly, and criminals will abandon a card if it fails – plus this alerts your bank to possible fraudulent transactions.

USB Charger Scam

Some hotels provide USB charging ports in the room. Check them before you use them. Make sure they are permanent devices or ports, and not temporary chargers.

Temporary or plug-in chargers can gain access to your phone or device through the USB port. They can install malware or key-loggers to obtain your information without you knowing.

It is always better to use your own chargers when traveling. If you do not have the right adaptor plug call the front desk.

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