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Scam Alert: Phone scam targets local hotel guests

By By Caleb James, Reporter
Published On: Dec 09 2012 04:39:08 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 09 2012 08:02:05 PM CST

Caleb James reports.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

Sunday's Scam Alert is especially important for anyone planning on staying in a hotel any time soon. 

On Sunday, our station learned of a scam target hotel front desks. 

"They call to a hotel, and they get transferred to a room," said Guesthouse Inn manager Kassie Cain. "They gather name, phone number, address, credit card numbers."

Cain said the scam begins with a scammer calling a hotel front desk. The scammer asks to be transferred to a guest room, usually at random. 

"When they get transferred to the room, they either tell the guest they're hotel security or the front desk," said Cain. 

From there, it's one story or another. The scammer will often apologize for bothering the guest, and informs them there's a problem. Wither the guest's credit card number is missing from the hotel's system, or their personal details were entered incorrectly at check-in. 

Cain's hotel has a policy to protect guests from scammers. 

"When somebody calls and asks for a room number we simply ask who they're trying to reach," she said. 

 But some hotels use automated systems. Cain said that means calls get through to the rooms unscreened. 

"That's how a lot of them are getting through," she said. 

Cain said if you do get a call from your hotel's front desk, it's usually not standard procedure for any hotel staff to ask for personal details over the phone.

"I'd just tell them, 'Oh, well I'll just come down to the front desk and give you the information you're requesting.'" said Cain.  

Cain also said even if it sounds like a caller is hotel staff, it's not impolite to hang up and call the front desk yourself. That way, you know for sure who's on the other end of the line. 

If you do accidentally give out your credit card number, you should immediately contact your bank to cancel the card. 

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