Protecting Your Credit Card Information From Scammers At Hotels

credit cards

Many scammers try to target travelers staying at hotels. As a hotel guest, you need to be aware of a number of the scams that are often used and take the steps to protect yourself. Here is an overview of how this scam usually works.

Hotel Phishing Scam

The hotel phishing scam has been used for several years. A scammer will often call somebody’s room and pretend to be the concierge at the front desk. They will tell the guest that there is a problem with their credit card. They may threaten to have the person removed from the hotel if the problem isn’t straightened out right away, but typically are more diplomatic and low-key when speaking to their mark.

The scammer will usually ask the guest to read their credit card number and the verification code on the back of the card. Many guests don’t suspect anything about it and freely give their information over.

How big of a Concern is This Scam

The scam artist usually tries to employ this scam by running their call through the front desk. Most hotels are very careful about not letting people telephone their guests room directly. Therefore, some critics say that concerns of this phishing scam are a bit overblown.

However, the scam still occurs regularly. Not all hotels have a policy in place that prohibits the people at the front desk from transferring calls to their guests’ rooms. Also, not every receptionist is going to follow the hotel’s policies to a tee. Some scams will still fall through the cracks.

This scam may not work all the time, but you still need to know about it. This scam was used at a hotel in Texas a couple years ago. The scammer contacted about 20 people and at least one of them gave out their credit card information.

Protecting Yourself From This Scam

You should never share any of your financial information with somebody over the phone. You should do one of the following if you receive a call asking you to confirm your credit card information while staying at any hotel:

  • Call the front desk yourself to verify the issue
  • Walk down to the lobby to speak with them

You should also be aware that these scam artists often wake people up in the middle of the night to get this information. They may believe that you will be off your guard or too tired to verify the information at the front desk. Most hotels would never disturb a customer in the middle of the night. They would probably verify the information before you even made it into your room, but would wait until the morning if there really was a problem.

You never want to share your credit card information to someone who just calls you on the phone. Always make sure that you are really talking to someone from the front desk before you give out any personal details. You are best off going down to the front desk directly.

About the Author: Kalen is an entrepreneur and avid traveler who stayed at the Comfort Inn & Suites Airport Convention Center when he visited South Carolina earlier this month.