The caller explained she was from the front desk and apologized that the hotel systems crashed that morning and automatic checkout would be unavailable. The caller further stated that, to expedite checkout, she would need to obtain the credit card used for the room. She went even further to state her "employee number" and put a male manager on the phone. All while keyboard clicks and "lobby noise" in the background added up to making the call sound pretty damn official. But, it didn't stop there. To further reassure this guest, she offered to hang up so that our friend could dial zero to call back and be connected to the front desk to complete the transaction. Scammers wouldn't do that, right? But wait, there's more! The "employee" offered a 50% discount on the room for the inconvenience. (We would've asked for the resort fee to be waived, too!)
After, unfortunately, providing his credit card number, the caller then asked for the three digit security code on the back of the card. Luckily, a red flag went off at this point and our friend provided an incorrect security code. After hanging up, he dialed the front desk who confirmed that, yes, he had been scammed and would need to come down and fill out a police report. Both the officer on the scene and Planet Hollywood security admitted this is a scam happening all over town and they have no idea yet how the scammers are getting guest names and matching them to the correct room numbers.
In the end, our friend's card hadn't been hit with any charges and was cancelled, but we wonder how often this scam works. Similar scams have been reported in other cities before, but none have mentioned the scammers having specific guest names. Have you been a victim of this setup? And, even more importantly, does anyone know how the criminals are getting the names of their prey?
Remember, a hotel will never call asking for personal details such as a credit card over the phone. Don't think it's a waste of time and always file a report. In the rare case the hotel does need valid personal info, swing by the front desk to know who you're talking to. For Planet Hollywood's part, they offered our flustered friend a suite upgrade and food vouchers on his next stay. Hopefully, he won't be starting a new Vegas Collection: hotel incident reports.
(PHOTO via Foursquare)