It’s another day and another scam is making the rounds. This time it’s targeting hotel patrons. Like all scams this one tricks the victim into thinking the caller is legitimate and freely gives out critical information to the criminal.

Here’s how it works –

When you check into a hotel, generally, the hotel takes your credit card for incidental charges to your room. Room service, minibar, gift shop, whatever. Standard practice. You go to your room and get settled.

A criminal calls the front desk of the hotel and asks for a random room, which happens to be yours. The front desk doesn’t think much of it and transfers the call to the room. The person in the room, usually, cannot tell the difference between and outside caller or inside caller.

The phone is answered and a very professional voice on the other end claims to be the front desk. They go on to explain that there is a problem with their credit card and asks for all the information over the phone to fix the issue. Name, billing address, card number and the code on the back. They then say thank you, problem is fixed, etc… and hang up.

Only it wasn’t the front desk and your credit card information is now in the hands of someone that is racking up fraudulent charges, using your identity and causing lots of problems. To make matters worse, since you are in a hotel, that means you are not near your home in a strange city.

Don’t worry, there is a very easy way to not fall for this. Like all scams like this, don’t give the information over the phone to anyway that calls you.

Here’s how not to be a victim –

  • If someone calls, even if it’s your bank asking for sensitive information, tell them you will call them back directly. Hang up and you call your bank with a trusted number or in this scam call the front desk. If it’s legit fine, if it’s not they will tell you it was a scam.
  • Go in person. Put on your shoes and go down to the front desk in person.
  • Don’t trust anyone calling you saying there is a problem. Don’t trust, always verify. Especially when it comes to your financial information.

This scam is so stupid, simple and unfortunately it works. Stop, think and you will not fall for it.

End of line.

Binary Blogger has spent 20 years in the Information Security space currently with Magenic providing security solutions and evangelism to clients. From early web application programming, system administration, senior management to enterprise consulting I provide practical security analysis and solutions to help companies and individuals figure out HOW to be secure everyday.

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