Travellers Beware: New Hotel Scam To Be Mindful Of

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There’s been a message making its rounds on social media and WhatsApp about a new tactic that con artists are using to scam unsuspecting victims. In this instance, hotel guests. While we’re not entirely sure as to the legitimacy of this scam, or how many people it has affected, the way it works is entirely feasible.

So, true or not, we can all learn a thing or two about being careful when it comes to safeguarding our personal information when checked in at a hotel. After all, the last thing anyone would want is to spend their holiday filing police reports and cancelling credit or debit cards.

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Here’s how it works:

  • You check in at your hotel and the front desk retains your card details for the deposit as per standard practice.
  • At some point during your stay, the scammer calls your hotel asking to speak to the guest in room 808 (for example).
  • It’s believed that these scammers try their luck, asking to speak with occupants of a random hotel room. In a worst case scenario, they may have insider intel.
  • The phone in room 808 rings, and the guest (in this instance, you) answers the phone, and the person on the other end of the line says they’re from the front desk and that they need you to verify your card details.
  • Now, because the call went directly to your room and is seemingly from the front desk, you likely won’t hesitate to give the scammer your card number and security code.
  • From there, you won’t realise you’ve handed your information out to a scammer until it’s too late.

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The takeaway from all of this is that if there are any issues with your personal information and someone calls your room asking for verification, tell them that you’ll be right down to work it out with them directly. If it is indeed a scammer on the other end of the line, you’ll have nipped the issue in the bud and can lodge an official complaint or report with the hotel so they can take the necessary action.

But don’t let a few bad apples deter your travel plans. Now that you’re aware of this new con scheme, just be mindful of who you share sensitive information with. Of course, feel free to share this article with anyone you know who’s travelling soon!

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Tengku Zai
Going by the nickname Kuzai, the Kelantan native spent nearly a decade in the wonderful world of publishing, managing the beauty sections of glossies including ELLE and Harper’s BAZAAR. The wannabe yogi also suffers from an extreme case of wanderlust and really just works to eat, travel, and nurture a unicorn and Star Wars obsession.

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