Although we aren’t traveling much these days, I’d still like to think Mom and I might sneak in a short road trip or two before the end of the year. Steve may or may not join us. I’m betting he’d probably rather stay home and do his own thing while I shuttle Mom around for a change of scenery. After all, it has been said that absence makes the heart grow fonder. But, then on the other hand, some say “Out of sight, out of mind.” Nevertheless, I think a hotel stay or two is in my near future.
Last week a pal of mine sent me an email with a message warning about a hotel scam that has allegedly taken place more than a time or two. I checked it out at snopes.com, and although I didn’t get much confirmation on the reality of the claim, I still believe it is worth the warning. Please read below and let me know if you’ve ever heard of such a thing.
One arrives at his or her hotel and checks in at the front desk. Typically, when checking in, one gives the front desk a credit card to keep on file for extra charges to the room. The traveler then goes to his/her room and settles in. All is good.
The hotel receives a call, and the caller asks for (as an example) room 620. The phone rings in room 620. The traveler answers, and the person on the other end of the phone line says the following: “This is the front desk. When you were checking in, we came across a problem with your charge-card information. Please re-read me your credit-card number and verify the last three-digit numbers on the reverse side of your charge card.”
Not thinking anything wrong, since the call seems to come from the front desk, the traveler obliges.
In actuality, the caller is not a hotel employee but a scammer calling from outside the hotel. The scammer has asked for a random room number, then asks whomever answers for his or her credit card and address information.
In most cases the scammer sounds so professional that the traveler believes he or she is actually speaking to someone in authority at the hotel’s front desk.
If you ever encounter this scenario on your travels, tell the caller that you will be down to the front desk to clear up any problems. Then, go to the front desk or hang up and call directly to the front desk and ask if there was a problem. If there was none, inform the manager of the hotel that someone posing as a hotel employee had tried to scam you of your credit card information.
Note from Neena: Beware of light-fingered hotel cleaning staff as well. DO NOT leave valuables in your room while you are out visiting, dining, sightseeing or even just going to the pool area for a quick dip. Most hotels have safes in the rooms or a security box you can use near the front desk. I had a necklace stolen from a hotel room more than 30 years ago while I was out at an Elvis concert in Las Vegas. A friend of mine in the room right next door to mine had her watch taken. The police came and took our reports, but we never recovered our stolen property. It still makes me mad. I guess tucking valuables in the toe of a shoe in one’s suitcase doesn’t qualify as a fool-proof hiding place!