How to Avoid the Latest Travel Scam

Part of hotel interior

By: Suzanne Ostrander

Forbes.com has published information on the most recent scam targeting those who are traveling on business or pleasure. In the latest hotel scam, travelers receive a phone call from an individual claiming to be from the front desk.  Typically, these calls arrive at odd hours, so the traveler is usually groggy and not fully alert when answering the phone.  As part of the hoax, the scammer claims that the computer at the front desk has crashed and they have lost their credit card information.  It’s also common for the scammer to simply claim that there has been an “error” processing the travelers’ credit card information.  The caller will then read back four random numbers to “confirm” the last four digits of the card. When the cardholder does not recognize the numbers, he is then asked to read the entire 16 digits on his card. The caller will never address the traveler by his name, because he obviously does not know it.  As a final tactic, the hotel guest is asked to “spell” his name, giving the caller all of the information he needs.

In each scenario, the traveler is put in the vulnerable position of having to give out his personal information over the phone. Once the caller has this information, it is only a matter of time before he is out on a shopping spree (your “treat”).

Katherine Hutt, director of media relations at the Council of Better Business Bureaus, states “We believe the scammers direct-dial the rooms so they can call in without going through the hotel switchboard.”

So how can we protect ourselves from this latest scam on hotel guests?  First and foremost, it is never wise to give out your personal information over the phone to a stranger.  If receiving this type of call when staying in a hotel, the traveler should refrain from providing this information over the phone.  With any financial discrepancy, it’s always better to go down to the front desk to resolve the issue in person.

Please share any other tips you may have on avoiding travel scams!

For direct access to Caroline Mayer’s article on the latest travel scams, click here:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2013/05/14/beware-of-2-travel-scams-on-your-next-trip/

Click below for a video segment on avoiding the latest travel scams:

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