New reports of an old hotel phone scam targeting guests and their wallets are popping up with greater frequency these days. The scam involves guest getting a call from someone purporting to be a hotel manager or a similar higher-up.
Unsuspecting hotel customers may think the call is coming from the front desk, but in actuality it’s originating outside the building. What makes the scheme even more sinister is that instead of being a harmless prankster, the caller asks for personal information, including the guest’s full name and even credit card information.
Hotel phone scam tricks hotel guests into giving personal info
The scam was recently brought to the attention of Clark Howard’s Consumer Action Center volunteer Bob Ruby, who happened to be staying at a hotel where guests were being warned about it.
“The letter notice was posted in each elevator and was in the desk in each room,” Ruby says. He adds that he didn’t receive a scam call personally or hear of anyone who had, “but I assume the Springhill Suites had a reason for the warning.”
Here’s the note Springhill Suites posted for guests:
Dear Valued Guest,
We recently became aware of a “scam” currently targeting hotel guests in the area. In this scam, guests receive a phone call in their room from someone claiming to be the General Manager or “Management” of the hotel. The criminals proceed to ask for your personal information, including information about the guests’ credit card — stating that there is a problem with billing.
The management of this hotel and the staff will not contact you and ask for this type of information over the telephone. If we needed to speak with you and obtain such information, we would ask you to come to the front desk. If you receive a call such as this, please do not give any credit card information over the phone and report it immediately to the front desk.
Photo credit: Screenshot of letter
3 things to know about this hotel phone scam
- Hotels have safeguards in place: Hotels rarely if ever connect outside callers to guests without them supplying both a room number and name. Criminals usually won’t get connected without knowing both pieces of info. This is not to say that it can’t or won’t happen, but it is rare.
- Never give your personal info over the phone: As was mentioned by the hotel, refrain from divulging personal data over the phone. Always go to the front desk to take care of any financial business.
- Look out for other hotel phone scams: Another variation of this scam is that a caller will tell you that the “computers are down” so they need your card info (read about it here). Don’t fall for it.