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.
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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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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.