Wisconsin Better Business Bureau
Press Release

BBB Scam Alert: Beware of hotel scams


By - Nov 23rd, 2020 07:01 am

Milwaukee, Wis. – Planning to stay in a hotel soon? Be aware, scammers are always trying to get ahold of your credit card information.

Tourists and business travelers are often considered the easiest targets. Hotels provide scammers an easy path towards their goal of trying to separate a traveler from their cash.

Here are 5 very common hotel scams to be aware of:

Fake Website

When making online hotel reservations, know the website you’re using. Scammers are famous for creating look-alike web pages to lure consumers into providing credit card information.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association is a BBB National Partner. They provided us with some tips to follow before booking a hotel room.

Fake Food Delivery

Make sure the menus left in your hotel room are authentic. Dining-in can feel like a tempting option, especially after a day of traveling or exploration, but you could end up ordering from a restaurant that doesn’t even exist.

Scammers will distribute fake menus to rooms with phone numbers that connect the caller to them instead of the hotel or a real business. They will collect the caller’s credit card information over the phone then never deliver food.

Before you decide to order somewhere, do some research and make sure the business exists. If you’re still questioning your options, ask the front desk for restaurant recommendations.

Fake Front Desk Calls

Hotel guests may receive a late-night phone call from someone impersonating the front desk. The caller asks for credit card information claiming there’s a problem with the credit card on file – they may say it was declined and they need to re-verify payment information or that they lost all financial information and need to run an audit by a certain time.

The scammer will offer to take your credit card information over the phone so that you’re not inconvenienced. However, a real hotel staff member will never ask for your credit card information over the phone. They will always ask you to settle up any charges at the front desk.

Always notify the hotel of any calls of this nature.

“Free” Wi-Fi Connections

When staying at a hotel, nobody enjoys having to pay for their Internet access. This gives scammers an “in”; “Free Wifi” hotspot popups are very tempting for travelers who are looking for access to the outside world.

Wireless Internet “skimming” is a new and growing hotel scam that targets travelers with the promise of free Internet access. This usually appears in the common areas of the hotel. Yes, the connection will be free to access but it’s not safe. Most of the time a hotel scam artist is controlling the connection through their computer, collecting all the data the traveler transmits – websites accessed, passwords used, card information, etc.

Before joining a network, make sure the Wifi connection is secure and hosted through the hotel. Many secured connections require a two-step verification process.

Checkout Scam

When checking into your hotel room you’re always asked to give a form of payment to keep on file, such as a credit or debit card, for incidentals. However, at checkout you can decide to pay for your stay with another method, such as cash.

No matter what payment method you use, make sure you get a receipt and keep it.

The problem in checking out comes if there’s a dishonest individual working behind the desk. Say you decided to pay with cash. There’s a chance the individual could pocket the cash and still charge your room to the card on file. When you later notice this you’ll need the receipt to prove that you paid.

The best way to prevent being scammed at checkout is to use the form of payment that you put on file when checking in. Consider using a credit card versus a debit card. If your number is compromised, using your debit card lays you wide open to having your entire checking account emptied and fighting with the bank.

If you encounter a scam, report it to BBB Scam Tracker at BBB.org/scamtracker.

For more information and business you can trust, visit BBB.org.

For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at www.bbb.org/wisconsin, 414-847-6000 or 1-800-273-1002. Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.  ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2019, people turned to BBB more than 183 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.8 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Wisconsin which was founded in 1939 and serves the state of Wisconsin.

Mentioned in This Press Release

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