Scam calls to hotel rooms are the next thing you should be aware of

Scammers everywhere.

Jonathan Lim | July 24, 2016, 11:05 AM

After DHL scams, the next thing Singaporeans should be aware of are scam calls they may receive at hotels.

This one is shared on Facebook and one can see how easily a fatigued traveller would fall prey to this simple trick:

You arrive at your hotel and check in at the front desk. Typically when checking in, you give the front desk your credit card (for any charges to your room) and they don't retain the card. You go to your room and settle in. All is good.

The hotel receives a call and the caller asks for (as an example) room 620 - which happens to be your room.

The phone rings in your room. You answer and the person on the other end says the following:

'This is the front desk. When checking in, we came across a problem with your charge card information. Please re-read me your credit card numbers and verify the last 3 digits numbers at the reverse side of your charge card.'

Not thinking anything wrong, since the call seems to come from the front desk you oblige. But actually, it is a scam by someone calling from outside the hotel. They have asked for a random room number, then ask you for your credit card and address information.

They sound so professional, that you think you are talking to the front desk.

If you ever encounter this scenario on your travels, tell the caller that you will be down to the front desk to clear up any problems.

Then, go to the front desk or call directly and ask if there was a problem. If there was none, inform the manager of the hotel that someone tried to scam you of your credit card information, acting like a front desk employee.

Scammers prey on people's impulses and laziness; and in this case it is our impulse to solve the issue the easiest way out. Giving your credit card number over the phone is certainly easier and faster than going down to the front desk. Be alert when you are overseas.

Other possible scams when you're in a hotel:


Food delivery fliers

Hungry and yearning for some supper but not willing to spend a bomb on room service? Calling delivery would be the best way to go. Unfortunately, that's another avenue for scammers to strike.

These fliers would claim to give you delicious meals at the fraction of the price. You call them, provide your credit card details for payment, and alas, no food in the end and your credit card bill balloons.

Luckily with the Internet, such scams become increasingly rare as you can turn to the web for legit sources of late night takeout. But this leads to the next scam...


'Free Wi-Fi'

Internet access is the new essential to travellers. Some say even more important than drinkable tap water. People who are eager to log onto wireless networks offering free Internet access should double-check with the front desk the name of the network they are logging on to.

Scammers would try to name their networks as close as possible to the hotel's or name it something attractive like 'Complimentary 4g Access'. Once you're logged on, that's how they access your personal data like credit card information.


Top image from Prayitno

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