Yesterday’s tip was about the Better Business Bureau (BBB) advice for avoiding vacation rental scams. Since that was so popular, I’m following up with tips for not getting scammed when staying at a hotel or motel.

These days, scammers are really getting smart and hard to catch thanks to technology. When staying at a hotel, there are several techniques the bad guys use to try and get your credit card or worse, your debit card information. First of all, always pay by credit card so you’re protected. Using a debit card is the same as cash.

RELATED: The Best Hotel Credit Cards

The three tricks scammers often use, according to the BBB are:

1. Fake Front Desk Calls
Scammers will call hotel rooms late at night impersonating the front desk person. “The caller claims there’s a problem with the card on file and asks the traveler to “re-verify” the credit card information.” Never give your credit card number to someone who calls you. Hang up and call the front desk and ask if they really do have a problem with your card. If they do, you can go downstairs and give it to them in person but chances are they will say they didn’t call.

2. Fake Food Delivery Services
Another trick scammers try is distributing fake menus and sliding them under hotel room doors. “When a traveler calls the phone number and orders delivery, they collect the credit card information and never deliver the food.” Never order food off of one of these menus unless the front desk gives it to you. Instead, look up the restaurant online or use a delivery app to have food delivered. I almost always do the latter and rarely do I ever order room service since it’s overpriced, it’s not local and generally, just isn’t great.

3. “Free” Wi-Fi Connections
Finally, there’s the old Wi-Fi “skimming”, which promises free Internet access. “Scammers set up a fake connection that appears to be free, but it’s not safe. They will control the connection through their computer, collect all the data the traveler transmits including passwords, card information, and more. Avoid doing any banking transactions or checking personal accounts when using an open wifi network.” Instead, use a secure, private network especially when accessing personal or financial accounts.

Have you ever fallen victim to one of the scams listed above? Are there more we should be on the lookout for? Please share in the comments below.

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8 Comments On "Don’t Fall For These Hotel Scams"
  1. Dee|

    Thanks for tips. The Springhill Suites (franchised thru Marriott) in Doral, Florida is scamming people, me included. What is stated online is not what they charge the check out day. I reported to Marriott immediately, who closed my case without doing anything more than calling the franchise hotel. The Marriott rep the day I called, May 1st, stated there was only two days charged each for over $2,xxx, in total was over $5,000, The original quote online was $2,283.48, difference of $2,707!! I explained it all the day I received the bill at the desk, called Marriott immediately, and they closed the case, I reopened, then last Friday seems they are trying to close the case again, stating in an email the hotel was contacted. Well the Springhill Suites is the issue, and also today had two fraudulent charges hit the same credit card, charges in Maryland. A older gentleman checking out same time as myself was complaining of same issue, the final bill differed from the initial online charge. Beware of these scammers, the franchise Springhill Suites in Doral, Fl. Not sure what else to do, any advice is appreciated. Called credit card company, getting replacement numbered card. I would have never booked such an outrageous cost for a hotel, would have staying at an AirBnB. I shopped around, compared to another hotel nearby. These people are manipulating the computer system, seems Marriott is to lazy to do an audit, check the database back before I checked in for the original confirmation number and booking. To many mindless people in the world!

  2. Will R|

    I will never stay there. Thanks for the warning. No more Marriott.

  3. A. B. Nelson|

    I regularly get phone calls saying they are from the hotel, and I qualify for a special deal. When I talked to the chain I usually stay with they told me they never call like that, It would be a message on their frequent guest platform. They also mentioned that many of them are scams and you give them a credit card number and never get a reservation or see your money again.

  4. Tony N|

    As a last protection, you call up your credit card company and have the unauthorized charges, transactions canceled but then your credit card number will be cancelled too. Maybe the credit card companies can somehow give you an online virtual card for the rest of your trip.

  5. coyote|

    Also, wherever you stay, read your hotel bill carefully before you check out as there may be charges for things you did not use. Hotel billing errors are almost always in a hotel’s favor, not ours, but they are easier to have corrected when you’re actually at the hotel talking to front desk staff rather than later on.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Great tip! I will share (it’s been a while since I ran this one)

  6. VIK|

    Reminds me of my experience at the Hilton, Waikiki Beach. I checked in the hotel last October 2022 for one week but no mention of any resort fees. When I was checking out they had added $75/day Resort Fee. I was shocked to see it but unable to do anything about it. I had to pay whether or not I used it!

  7. Florence Lotrowski|

    Was this fee disclosed to you in advance? If not, it was a knowing omission and therefore a misrepresentation. If you can’t correct this with corporate, you may want to consider a chargeback on your credit card.

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