Hilton/Marriott Vacation Winner: Phone Scam Overview
Free vacation scams are nothing new, but what if it isn't a free cruise or some type of timeshare program that you’ve never heard of that the caller is offering? What if the caller is telling you that you’ve qualified for a free night at a hotel that you’ve already stayed at?
Scammers have adopted this scheme to trick travelers who commonly stay at Hilton and Marriott hotels.
How Does the Scam Work?
Who wouldn’t want a free stay at a Hilton or Marriott hotel in some exotic location? A weekend beach trip or a city getaway is something that anyone would want. Phone scammers will call stating that they work for Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton, or any of the other major chain hotels. They will tell you as a valued customer you’ve been awarded a free weekend at any hotel location of your choice.
The caller will state that the only thing that is needed to redeem your free weekend is for you to pay the taxes on the hotel stay. These taxes will seem minimal to the overall value of the weekend that you’re receiving. Typically the scammer will ask for credit card information to process this request, or ask that it be paid via wire transfer.
How to Protect Yourself From This Scam
Don’t be fooled by this scam, keep an eye out for these red flags:
The Initial Call Is Automated
The people behind these scams use robodialers and automated calls to first get their victims on the line. Whenever you get an automated call be suspicious of spam.
Caller Claims to Be from a Third Party Firm
The caller may claim that they are a third party representing the hotel they are calling on behalf. Hotels take the privacy of their guests seriously and will not share guest information with third parties.
You Can’t Find Information About the Rewards
If there is an actual rewards program, then the hotel will advertize it. You can call the hotel directly via the number on their official website to enquire information about their different rewards program.
The Caller Asks You to Pay Fees or Taxes
The moment anyone asks you to pay for something you have won, hang up. This is a major red flag of all phone scams.
How to Report This Scam
If you’ve been contacted by a hotel phone scammer you should report it directly to the hotel the caller claimed to be representing. The hotel will be able to warn other customers about the potential threat and to watch out for these types of calls.
You can also report this scam and help warn others by leaving your feedback on the number that called you in our reverse phone lookup app for iPhone. If you don’t have an iPhone, you can still leave your feedback on scamming numbers via our online phone book.