The Hotel Phone Call Scam To Watch Out For On Your Next Trip

When traveling, it's safe to assume that not everything will go smoothly. Your flight might be delayed, you may lose your luggage, or you could get sick right in the middle of your vacation. So if the receptionist at your hotel calls to inform you of a tiny payment snafu, you might not think twice when they ask for your credit card information again.

This is how a common hotel phone call scam plays out. According to the Better Business Bureau, the scheme usually unfolds at night, after you've checked into the hotel. Someone claiming to be from the front desk rings the phone in your room and informs you that there's been a problem processing your payment. All you have to do, they say, is confirm your card information again over the phone so they can finalize your payment — and so you can continue staying in your hotel room without worry. The request might seem innocent enough, especially if you're staying in a reputable hotel. However, the person on the other end of the phone is really just a scammer hoping to swindle you out of your money, not a trustworthy hotel staff member.

How the scam works

While it might seem unlikely that an outsider would call your hotel room pretending to be a receptionist from the front desk, that's exactly what can happen, according to the Better Business Bureau's Barry Moore. Moore told 8News that people simply call a hotel and ask to be connected to a specific room number. Once the hotel staff member approves their request, their phone call goes through to your room, where they impersonate a hotel desk clerk in need of your credit card information.

As the Better Business Bureau points out, hotels should never request your payment information over the phone, even if there is a legitimate issue with your card or their computer system. Instead, they'll typically ask you to come to the front desk to settle the matter. Still, it's easy to fall for the scam, especially for travelers who aren't familiar with it. One Reddit user almost got duped, as they detailed in a viral post. In their case, the scammy phone call came in the morning, shortly before checkout. The caller claimed that the hotel's system was down, prompting them to complete the checkout process over the phone. The Redditor was skeptical and went to the front desk to confirm, where they learned the phone call was a hoax. If you receive an unexpected call from someone claiming to be a hotel employee, hang up and visit the receptionist in person. Doing so could save you your hard-earned money.