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If Your Hotel Room Phone Rings and Someone (as in General Manager)
 Asks to Verify your Credit Card Information -- Just Hang Up
By Rosalie Rayburn, Albuquerque Journal, N.M.McClatchy-Tribune Business News

Oct. 9, 2006 - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- If your hotel room phone rings and someone asks to verify your credit card information -- just hang up.

Otherwise, the caller could fraudulently ring up charges on the card.

It happened recently to a guest staying at a Northeast Heights hotel.

A desk clerk at the Homewood Suites on San Antonio received a call from a man asking to be put through to a guest by the name of Wilson.

"Apparently he had a nice professional-sounding voice," said the hotel's general manager, Gabriel Ruiz.

When the clerk said there was no guest by that name, the caller asked to speak to Smith, claiming Wilson and Smith were working together.

The clerk put the call through to a guest by that name. The caller told the guest he was the hotel's general manager. He said there had been a problem in processing the guest's credit card and asked him to give the number and his address so he could correct the information.

The guest gave those details but then became suspicious. He called the front desk and asked for the general manager, giving the name used by the caller. As soon as the desk clerk told him there was no manager by that name, the guest realized his mistake.

He immediately called his credit card company and found that someone was already trying to charge $2,000 to his card. The credit card company stopped the transaction.

Ruiz said his hotel has changed the way it sends calls through to guests.

Tracie Jernigan, general manager of La Quinta hotel on San Antonio and a board member of the Greater Albuquerque Innkeepers Association, said there had been reports of the same scam at hotels in California.

"Now it's here in Albuquerque," Jernigan said.

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To see more of the Albuquerque Journal, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.abqjournal.com.

Copyright (c) 2006, Albuquerque Journal, N.M.

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