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Attorney General Peter Kilmartin Urges Travelers to be Aware of New Scam Targeting Hotel Guests

With the summer travel season in full swing, Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin wants everyone who may stay in a hotel or motel this summer to be aware of a new scam being used to steal from travelers. Scammers hack into hotel switchboards, dial guests directly and request their credit card information. They tell each guest that the hotel’s computer system lost their credit card information so they need to re-enter the card number. To entice the traveler, they offer a substantial discount because of the “inconvenience.”

“It’s really disturbing how far some people will go to steal from us,” said Attorney General Kilmartin. “This new scam seeks to exploit people who save for a vacation and don’t want to give their money away. The polite voice offering a 40 or 50% discount along with a phony apology for any inconvenience only increases the chance that an honest traveler may fall victim to this deceit.”

No matter how sincere the caller sounds, or how big the promised discount is, no one should give credit card information over the phone in response to this type of call. The safest way to determine if this is a scam is to hang up and call or visit the hotel desk directly. People who have done this in response to such a call avoided being scammed and allowed the hotel to protect other guests.

About the Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Unit The Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Unit investigates and mediates consumer complaints concerning unfair and unlawful business practices and misleading advertising arising out of alleged violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. If groups of people are victimized by a deceptive trade practice, this office may file in the Superior Court a civil investigative demand, which is a formal investigation. In appropriate cases, a lawsuit to stop the illegal business practice may be initiated.

Apart from carrying out its statutory responsibilities, the Unit also provides information and referral services to the general public. Consumers are directed to the appropriate governmental or private agencies for help in answering specialized questions or resolving disputes, which are not within the Unit's jurisdiction.

The Consumer Protection Unit is available to speak to community groups on how to protect from being a victim of identity theft and other scams. If you believe you are a victim of consumer fraud or abuse, please contact the Consumer Protection Unit by calling 401-274-4400.

Related links

Department or agency: Office of the Attorney General: Consumer News and Alerts

Online: http://www.riag.ri.gov/civil/consumer/

Release date: 07-07-2011

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