Eye on Hospitality: Scam Alert for Hotels – Don’t Be a Victim!

Eye on Hospitality: Scam Alert for Hotels – Don’t Be a Victim! https://wahospitality.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/shutterstock_547297510.jpg

By Paul Schlienz

Scammers are, unfortunately, everywhere. If there’s a method of making easy, but illicit money off innocent victims, you can be sure someone somewhere is doing it.

Sadly, hotels are often targets for scams like one that surfaced recently at Seattle’s Inn at the Market. Fortunately, however, there are ways to protect your hotel and your guests from this kind of abuse.

David Watkins, the Inn at the Market’s general manager, describes how the scam works.

“An outside caller calls in usually in the evenings, when the GM often isn’t there, and asks for the GM’s extension,” said Watkins. “From there, the caller then tries accessing guest rooms via the voicemail dialing system.  The scammers randomly get a room and tell the guest their credit card info is bad and insist that they have to give it to them over the phone. If a guest objects, they will threaten to have security to come up to the room.”

Watkins adds that while some of his guests received calls from the scammer, none of them fell victim to the scam.

“Fortunately, none of our guests were scammed because they first contacted the front desk before handing over credit card information,” said Watkins. “We also have a policy of never forwarding a call to a guest without validating it.”

Ultimately, Watkins went for a technical fix to prevent the problem from ever plaguing his hotel again.

“You can disable your voicemail system to not do this, to prevent scammers from getting access to it and using it to contact guests,” said Watkins. “We went to our phone provider, Tri-Tech Communications, to fix the problem.”

“There are multiple phone scams out there that target hotels, and there’s a different fix for each one,” said Scott Grieben, CEO of Tri-Tec Communications. “We fixed the Inn at the Market’s problem by restricting the ability of that voicemail box to dial up the guests. Each one of these scams has a different solution.”

If your hotel has fallen victim to this scam or others, Grieben urges you to contact his company for help by emailing service@tri-tec.com.

“We’re here to help,” he said.

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Tags: technology