How to Avoid 3 Common Hotel Scams
CREF’s primary purpose is to provide quality education, and recently we’ve learned that sometimes that means offering practical tips on how to keep our attendees, speakers, and exhibitors safe from hotel scams and credit-card fraud involving increasingly savvy hotel pirates, poachers, and front-desk impersonators.
1. Hotel Pirates
Here’s how this scam works: A fictitious business recruits aggressive salespeople via social media, creates a professional-looking website, names the business something like “Exhibitors Housing Services” or “Convention Hotel Services,” and then actively reaches out to faculty, exhibiting companies, or even attendees listed on a conference website. They then contact those individuals and explain that they are working with the conference organizer to secure hotel rooms and that rooms must be booked immediately due to low inventory. They charge the attendees’ credit cards but do not reserve rooms.
To avoid falling victim to hotel pirates, follow these simple tips:
- Remember that conference organizers secure a block of rooms based on the size of their group, and they negotiate a reduced rate for all attendees, exhibitors, and speakers.
- No one should ever phone, email, or contact you in any way requesting your credit card to make a hotel reservation for a conference.
- Beware of using Google to search for a conference hotel link. Wily pirates create AdWord campaigns that are prominently displayed on the results page, trying to lure you in. Instead, use the hotel reservation link that’s listed on the official conference website or in official meeting correspondence. You can also phone the hotel to make your reservation.
- If you’re ever in doubt, CREF welcomes your calls or emails to report suspicious activity or simply to verify a website or email you have received.
- CREF respects your privacy and will never post conference attendee lists online. Never! If you attend other conferences that broadcast your attendance to the general public, ask them to refrain–or at least to remove your name.