Sunday, May 26, 2013

Hotel Phone Phishing Scam

This post is a little overdue...I've been lazy..sorry.
It's nothing funny, it's informative. Sort of like the key card post.  This is a serious thing that has been going on in hotels apparently for a few years now, but it just came back around recently and actually has been happening in my town, and once at my hotel. Thankfully, no one was hurt by this scam in my hotel.

Here's what's been going on. Hotels are being targeted for this scam. Someone will call the hotel and state a room number they request to be transferred to. Once connected with the room, the scammer will say they are calling from the front desk and that there was a problem with their credit card authorization, and there is no need for them to come to the desk, they can just verify the credit card information over the phone. The guest will usually think nothing of it and give the information over the phone...and boom. Information stolen.
When this happened at my hotel, the gentleman hung up and immediately came to the desk ranting and raving because he had been in the room for almost a week and why are we just now telling him there was a problem with the credit card. We never would have known if he had not done that.

So I am here to tell guests in hotels, whether you are a frequent stayer, traveler, or just happen to randomly stay in a hotel one night. If you ever get a phone call from "the front desk" about your credit card, immediately hang up and go talk to them. It is something that needs to be reported to the police. Now, it is very possible that there really was a problem with the card and it was not noticed until after you had already checked in. However usually the clerk at the desk will request that you come down or stop by on your way through so they can physically run the card. I've done it before...ran the card through the machine and not the happens. But never ever ever under any circumstances whether it's 3am or anything give your information over the phone. If the clerk at the desk has waited until 3am to notice that there was a problem, they can wait until morning when you check out. I promise you...they can wait.

Hotel clerks...since we had this one incident, we have changed the way we answer phones, and what we do when we transfer a call to a room. Normally we would get a name, but now, we make sure to get a name. No just transferring to a room no matter how many times the same lady has called to check on her husband..always get a name. If the caller can not provide a name for the guest, we ask them for their name and number and tell them we will inform the guest of their call. There was only one time we did not get a name and phone number of the caller.

So, if you haven't gotten the point of this already....DON'T give out your credit card information over the phone to anyone who calls you in a hotel room, under any circumstances...and if you work in a hotel, always always always get a name before you transfer a call.

I try to not be as scarce...I have some stories, but...they're mostly things like "little old lady put her hand on the waffle iron and says 'Ow, that's hot'" ... *faceplant*

Until next time........

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