Hotel industry body the Accommodation Association of Australia (AAA) has warned consumers about a telemarketing/credit card fraud that it says is wrongfully being linked to major hotel groups.
The AAA said it's been alerted by a major accommodation chain that at least eight consumers in New South Wales and Western Australia — and potentially other states/territories — have had amounts of up to $11,500 unlawfully taken from their credit cards.
“The fraudulent behaviour involves consumers being randomly contacted by phone and asked if they would like to purchase a hotel dining loyalty membership through a telemarketer,” said AAA chief executive officer Richard Munro.
“The loyalty membership is offered at a heavily discounted amount — around $20, instead of the usual cost of around $300 — and unsuspecting consumers have been providing their credit card details, only to have thousands of dollars placed on their cards minutes later.
“Up to five people per day are being caught by the scam and the accommodation industry is moving to try to ensure that no further Australians fall victim to this criminal practice.”
The hotel chain in question has already reported the matter to state and federal police.
“There are many legitimate and value-for-money hotel loyalty programs available to consumers which run the risk of being tarnished by this fraud,” Mr Munro said.
“For any person who is contacted by a telemarketer about such products, they should not provide their credit card details until they are absolutely certain of the identity of the person who is calling them.
“For example, they may consider requesting a confirmation email, postal address, landline phone number and Australian ABN from the person who is marketing the offer.
“If any person is caught by the fraud, they should immediately contact the police and their financial institution.”