By Ted Land
Channel 2 News
5:20 PM AKST, January 9, 2012
The Anchorage Police Department is warning people of a credit card scam targeting hotel guests.
Police say in at least two instances, someone called guests at the Extended Stay Deluxe, identifying him or herself as the hotel manager.
The voice, actually a scammer, says there's been a problem running the guest's credit card and they ask the guest to repeat their card number and other key information over the phone.
Police say in one of the cases the plan did not work because the victim, who fell for the scheme, almost immediately got another call, this time from the credit card company saying that someone in Buffalo, New York was trying to buy groceries with the card.
They were able to stop the transaction, but investigators suspect others have been targeted and they're asking anyone with a similar story to call police.
"If we had any issue with a credit card we would call the guest and ask them to come down to our front desk and ask them to bring the card," said Dimond Center Hotel general manager Joe Merrill, "we would never ask over the phone."
Every call to the Dimond Center Hotel goes through the front desk, where they ask for a guest name as well as room number to verify the caller actually knows the person they're trying to reach.
Channel 2 called around to a few local hotels to see if others have the same standards.
Some, like the Captain Cook and Sheraton had a similar policy of asking for a guest's name and declining to connect the caller without key information.
But others, like the Best Western put us right through to a random room number we asked for.
Some even have an automated forwarding system, whereby the caller is never in contact with a front desk attendant.
Front desks are really the gate-keepers who can allow problems to get through, or assure you a good night's rest.
Because after scammer get through, the Anchorage Police Department says it's not easy to build a case against the criminals, who often work from far away, over the phone.
"In terms of tracking them down it’s very very difficult," said Lt. Dave Parker.
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