After you check in, beware of calls from the “front desk” to verify your information. These calls are usually coming from outside the hotel. Instead, the scammer dials the rooms directly to avoid talking with the real front desk.
After they get you on the phone, they’ll say something like “This is the front desk. We’re sorry to disturb you, but we need to confirm your credit card information. For security, I’ll give you the last four digits to confirm.” It seems professional, credible and in your best interest.
Then, they read off some random number. You say,”That’s not right.” They say,”Please give me the entire card number. We’ll cross reference it in the system and get this fixed right way.” Again, they sound as if they are there to help you.
This call may come the moment you walk into the room, or early in the morning when you’re distracted with getting ready to leave for the day, or any time you might be less alert.
Note they didn’t mention your name. Even if they did, don’t believe it. They may have been sitting in the lobby near the front desk, watched you check in, or overheard your room number. In some foreign countries, they may be working with someone on the hotel staff in return for a piece of the profit.
Most major hotel chains in the U.S. are cautious about your safety and will not openly say your room number when you check in. They’re aware of this and train their staff on it.
So, what do you do? If you encounter this, simpply ask the caller to hold on while you get your wallet. Then, lay the phone down and walk to the front desk to confirm. The hotel may have the ability to capture the incoming caller’s number. If not, you can always hang the phone up when you get back to the room.
And as always, never give your credit card number out over the phone to someone you don’t know.
For more than 23 years, Steve was an intelligence community professional who traveled and lived throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Central America. He now uses his experiences and formal training to help people overcome their reluctance to travel by giving them the solid, reliable information they can use to plan effectively, reduce risk, react to danger, and return home safe.