Planning to stay in a hotel soon? Scammers consider tourists and business travelers easy targets, so always stay aware and protect your personal information. Learn about hotel scams and stop the scammers from separating you from your cash.
Here are five common hotel scams to be aware of:
When making online hotel reservations, make certain the website is legitimate. A common tactic for scammers is to create look-alike web pages to lure consumers into providing credit card information.
Fake Food Delivery
Make sure the menus left in the hotel room are authentic. Dining-in can be 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 but never deliver food. Before deciding to order out, do some research and make sure the business exists, and check their BBB rating. Confirm with the front desk 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. They will always ask to settle up any charges at the front desk.
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, credit card information, etc.
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. You can also consider using your cellphone provider network and use your phone as a hotspot — just check the data usage allowed first.
When checking into a hotel, the front desk always asks for a credit or debit card to keep on file for incidentals. However, at check-out guests can decide to pay with another method, such as cash.
No matter what payment method is used, get a receipt. This provides a record of all charges during the stay, whether you use your original payment method or switch to cash. If there are any unexpected charges to the credit card on file, you’ll have a record to dispute them.
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.
If you encounter a scam, report it to BBB Scam Tracker at BBB.org/scamtracker.
For more information and information on businesses you can trust, visit BBB.org.