Credit card thieves target hotel guests in their rooms
July 6, 2011
By: Melissa Rudy
The latest credit card theft scheme is a play on the usual phone call scam, with an interesting twist: thieves are attempting to catch unsuspecting cardholders unawares by waking them in the middle of the night in their hotel rooms and pretending to be hotel staff.
Credit card thieves have developed a new scam for hotel guests, reports the Sacramento Bee. The Better Business Bureau has received reports of several fraudulent phone calls to Sacramento hotel guests where the caller claims to be from the front desk. The thieves tell groggy hotel visitors that the hotel's computer system has crashed and that they need to record their credit card number again in order to bill them for the room.
How to foil a potential credit card scammer
Like fraudulent calls purportedly from banks and credit card companies, this request might make sense on the surface, but it doesn't add up. It's impossible for a large hotel chain to lose credit card information due to a computer crash, because guest data and billing details are entered into a networked system that is backed up across multiple hotels, and usually across several continents.
Hotel guests receiving an unexpected call requesting credit card information should tell the caller they are going to hang up and call the front desk directly. That way, the guests can be sure that they are actually speaking with a hotel representative before disclosing any personal information.
Crime never sleeps
While hotel guests sleep, criminals are constantly coming up with new and creative ways to steal credit card numbers and other financial information. While the best credit cards will cover any fraudulent purchases, consumers are advised to take measures to protect themselves before an illegitimate charge is made to their card. That includes being aware of phone, Internet, and real-world scams that thieves use to gain access to consumers' credit cards.