Travel season is in full swing, and as always, you should be cautious about keeping your money safe when you are away from home.
Being alert when you're wandering around town is always recommended, but did you know you could also be scammed from right inside of your hotel room? Crooks are more than ready to pounce on unsuspecting visitors and are using tricky methods to steal credit card numbers.
Learn the inner workings of how these fraudsters operate and avoid having your information stolen and your vacation ruined.
Phony Restaurant Flyers
Because hotels charge a ridiculous amount for room service, many budget-conscious travelers will opt for ordering from a nearby restaurant -- grabbing the first menu they see wedged in their door. When you call to order and decide to make the purchase with your credit card, you must give the card number over the phone.
If the transaction is fraudulent, your delicious meal will never arrive. The folks on the other end of those calls eagerly wait for your credit card information, which is used to make fraudulent purchases.
If you're unsure about whether the flyer is fake, just pay a little more and order room service, or do a quick online search to ensure the restaurant is in fact, legit.
It's always a big plus when the hotel offers Wi-Fi in your room at no extra cost. Many times, having access to the Internet is valuable, as it helps with researching nearby activities, sightseeing, where to eat, and in general, mapping out your excursions.
However, you may be connected to a dummy network, even though it was labeled "Free Hotel Wi-Fi." These types of networks are actually just a mobile hotspot that was created by a cyber-thief, who is closely monitoring your browsing, and quite possibly, stealing your sensitive information, especially if you are making an online purchase with your credit card.
To avoid this scam, all you need to do is confirm with the front desk for the correct Wi-Fi network name.
An obtrusive way a scammer can easily get your card number is by directly dialing your hotel phone number and posing as hotel staff. Usually, the thief claims the hotel computer systems are down, which means they need your credit card information again. Without thinking anything, most people will give up their card number.
If you happen to ask the front desk clerk if their computer systems were down the previous night and they respond, "Our systems were not down last night," it's a giant red flag that you just got scammed. You should immediately call your credit card company and report it.
If you ever receive a call like this, just hang up and walk over to the front desk to ensure it was really a hotel staff member who called you.
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Claire Tak is the news editor at MyBankTracker.com.