Day -34 – Scam Alert

scam7:45 a.m. Saturday morning; Las Vegas, Nevada.  Hotel phone rings.  “Hello…”

“Ma’am this is Carlos at the front desk, I am so sorry to bother you this morning, we had a massive computer failure last night and we are trying to get back up and running.  The new software has been installed, but we are missing data from last nights’ guests.  The good news is that last night’s room is only being billed at 50%, but I need to get some information from you.”

Ok, I’m tired, not really thinking straight…fine, make it quick is what I’m thinking, I just want to crawl back in bed.  He asked for my address, my phone number…I rattled them off, then he asked for my credit card number.  Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding.  The bell finally went off.

“Wait a minute, isn’t there a sign or something at the front desk that said hotel personnel will never ask for your personal information over the phone?”

“Yes, ma’am, we had a problem a while back; I’m just doing what my boss said, trying to get this back operational, if I could just get your card number?”

I said, no thank you, I will deliver it to the front desk and hung up.  Crawled back in bed and it was bugging me.  I had just been scammed, or was about to be.  Fortunately I woke up enough to prevent it going any further.  I’m not worried about him having my address and phone number.  Hell, you can find those all over the internet whether you have my name or not.  I don’t have to worry about a home invasion, my address is a UPS storefront.  I live on the road, a home invasion for me would likely look more like a car-jacking.

When I checked out a couple of hours later, I thanked the front desk staff for the reminder.  It turns out, it wasn’t a sign, they actually had it stapled to my receipt as I checked in.  I knew I had read it somewhere.  “Hotel personnel will never ask for your personal information by telephone.”  Thanks for the reminder Best Western, you saved me a whole lot of headache.  I pride myself on being aware of things that can go on, ways to be scammed, I hadn’t thought of this one.  So consider this your scam alert, if the hotel phone rings, remember it could be someone outside the hotel.  Offer to call the front desk yourself, or better yet, hang up without sharing any info, if the hotel really has had a problem, it is likely they have slid something under your door to tell you about it.



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