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Tales From The Front Desk: Stopping A Scammer


2 hotel carolanneFrom AlastarYaboy, Tales From The Front Desk

Had a recent run-in with a very irate, if I had to guess by his voice, Indian man. He was calling my hotel about 1:30 am, on a weekday, asking if a Smita Patel (not real name) was staying there. I politely informed him that I cannot confirm if a guest is staying in house, but if they know the guest's room number I will happily connect them.

He would not have any of it.

Him: "What do you mean you cannot confirm she is staying there?"

Me: "Well, sir, and I'm not saying this is the case here, but sometimes guests stay at a hotel to get away from an abusive loved one. Simply by confirming they are at this hotel, you can then show up and continue harassing my guest. Sorry, can't allow any of that."

Him: "Well it's a family emergency."

Me: "Oh I'm sorry-" before he cuts me off (he keeps doing this, repeatedly)

Him: "So connect me to her room."

Me: "I'm sorry, sir, but that does not change the fact-"

It goes back and forth like this for awhile. Dude is not hearing it. He is also giving exactly ZERO information. That bit about the family emergency was the only tidbit I got other than this next bit, one of the only other actual quotes I remember.

Him: "Well it's an emergency, I need to reach her!"

Me: "I'm sure she has a cell phone, have you tried calling that?"

Him: "Yes, it's off, I cannot get through to it."

Me: "Don't know what to tell you then."

We went back and forth for a bit before he kept cutting me off and I finally hung up on his ass. I love living in the days of cell phones and VOIP. You don't KNOW I hung up on you, and as long as I apologize and blame the phone...

SCAMMERSSo he calls back after a minute. In that time I've decided he's a scammer, so I'm not really worried about upsetting him at this point, but I still play nice. I do apologize and blame the phone, he hurls some insults at me about being terrible at my job, yadda yadda yadda, and the conversation goes on for another minute or so before he finally gives up. Huzzah!

I may get an earful in the morning if it was legit, and if it was a real emergency I might feel bad, but honestly I felt pretty good about this one.

Then, I check the logs. Turns out Smita was staying with us, and had gone so far as to ask us not to disturb her in her room. My guess? This happens to her a lot. I knew something was fishy, chalked it up as a victory, and I immediately forgot about the interaction and went about my life.

Come in tonight, and there's a memo about social engineers targeting night audits in particular, getting a guest's info then pretending to be our corporate, and trying to socially engineer the credit card numbers out of guests.





If you were TRULY worried about it being an emergency, you can offer to take a message and then tell the caller that IF you find that you have a guest by that name, you will slip the message under their door and if you don't have a guest by that name, you will hold the message for a day or two in case the person checks in later.


Yeah, but if it was actually an emergency, the guy would have given some sort of information other than 'I said so'.


Pro tip to scammers:

Overreacting to being questioned is usually a dead giveaway that you’re up to something.

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