Scammers use late night hotel calls to get credit card info

BALTIMORE - You want to relax and get away, so you check into a hotel for vacation, hoping to leave your troubles behind. But scammers are just waiting to interrupt your trip...with a late night phone call.

It's probably happened to you at some point. You're staying in a hotel, sound asleep, when someone rings your room. Angie Barnett with the Better Business Bureau says, "In the middle of the night, they receive a phone call from the front desk, allegedly from the front desk."

But this is no teenage prank. The BBB says it's a scam that's popping up at hotels across the country.

Complaints have come into BBBs from Connecticut to Texas. It starts with late night calls from con artists claiming they work for the hotel. They claim they either can't find your credit card information or something is wrong with it. Barnett explains, "They're going to ask you to come down to the front desk and present your card again or they'll tell you, 'I'll just take it over the phone'."

The scammers are rolling the dice, assuming you'll just hand over your information instead of making the trek downstairs. Then they'll have your card number and will likely do some online shopping while you sleep, creating a nightmare ending to what could have been a dream vacation.

Experts say scammers are either hacking into hotel phone systems to call rooms or they're doing it the old fashioned way, just calling the front desk and asking to connect at random. If you get one of these calls, simply hang up and call the front desk on your own or go downstairs to verify if your card is truly needed.

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