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“And still those voices are calling from far away,

Wake you up in the middle of the night

Just to hear them say….

‘Hi this is the front desk and there is a problem with your card’…..”

Wait, what?

Hotel California by the Eagles is a classic song that people of all ages know the lyrics to and sing along whenever the song is on the radio. Another classic pertaining to hotels? The front desk scam.

The front desk scam occurs when scammers try to trick you into divulging your credit card information by calling your hotel room and posing as hotel employees. Many hotel phone lines are set up so that family and friends of people staying there can directly dial into guest rooms from outside the hotel. During the front desk scam, scammers choose a room number at random and, pretending to be an employee from the front desk, tells you there is an issue with the computer system and that need to reprocess or confirm your credit cards. The scammers generally call late at night or early in the morning to catch you off-guard and may even offer you a discount for the inconvenience.

How to protect yourself from this scam:

  • Most hotel/motels keep a card on file but don’t charge you for your stay until you check-out. If there is a problem with your card, the hotel will notify you in a reasonable manner.
  • Unless there is an emergency, most employees would never make an unsolicited call to a guest’s room, especially late at night.
  • Take care of all your financial business face-to-face at the front desk. Most hotels want your business and will treat you courteously. If the caller is threatening to kick you out of the hotel unless you provide your credit card number, hang-up. Report the call to the actual front desk so they may warn other guests.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s Lemon Laws and Arbitration Program, Data Breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the MA Do Not Call Registry.

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