On the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) list of the Top Ten Scams of 2011, the top identity theft scam is something to watch out for this summer. It’s a scam that has hotels posting warning signs in their lobbies, according to the BBB. Scammers calling your hotel room in the middle of the night, when you’re sure to be groggy and off your game, asking you to provide your personal information – again. The likely story is that there’s been a computer crash and your data has been lost. In order to keep your room in good standing, the front desk needs your data and needs it now.
But, really, what’s the rush? Before you go scrambling to grab your credit card or blurt out your home address, think for a minute. Why would the hotel need your information right now, in the middle of the night? That’s certainly not very hospitable, no matter if you’re staying at an economy motel or a high-end hotel.
Remember, scammers only need to learn the basic ins-and-outs of dialing the various room numbers in a hotel in order to perpetuate this trick. So don’t fall for it. You may not be able to tell whether the call is coming from the front desk or somewhere outside the hotel, but you can keep your smarts.
Assure the person on the phone that you’ll stop by the front desk the next chance you get, in the morning. Then ask in person if there really is a problem. For extra assurance, ask to speak with a manager.
To further protect your identity while you’re staying in a hotel, be sure to use your room safe or the hotel’s safe to store any personal identification you don’t need to carry with you, as well as any other valuables.