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New (to me) travel-related scam

Discussion in 'Vacation Travel Information' started by DEScottzz, Nov 29, 2018.

  1. DEScottzz

    DEScottzz TUG Member

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    Here's a scam to watch out for.

    We just got back from a week in Orlando. When we got back, there was a box of very expensive merchandise that had arrived while we were gone. We didn't order the stuff. In Texas, we have no need for any $175 knit wool caps to keep our ears warm.

    I checked on the credit card web site, and $475 in cold-weather gear had indeed been charged to my card. Interestingly, the scammer knew my address and cell phone number, which were on the invoice.

    Here's my best guess on how and why this happened.

    Our flight out was very early in the morning, so we used Marriott points to book a room near the airport. Of course, we gave them an address and phone number, as well as a card for incidentals.

    A couple days after we left, the fraudulent order was placed. The scammer paid for two-day shipping, so they knew exactly when the merchandise would arrive. What they didn't realize is that I have some remodeling work going on, so there were craftsmen going in and out constantly. One of them put the package inside, so it couldn't be swiped from the front porch.

    At first, I thought maybe one of the Orlando restaurants stole my card information. But how would they get my address and phone number, and why would they have the package delivered in Houston? My best guess is that the scammer was somebody at the hotel. (Courtyard near Hobby airport, FYI.)

    Pretty clever scam, if you think about it. Who do you think I should report it to?
     
  2. DeniseM

    DeniseM Moderator

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    You should immediately call your credit card company.
     
    mpumilia likes this.
  3. DEScottzz

    DEScottzz TUG Member

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    I've done that. Also called the merchant, and they are sending and RMA label. I'm wondering if either the police or Marriott would care to know.
     
  4. DeniseM

    DeniseM Moderator

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    I would call the local police, because if the scammers were going to steal the merchandise off your porch, they must have someone local to pick it up, and the police may have gotten other reports about the same activity.
     
  5. bbodb1

    bbodb1 TUG Member

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    Wyndham: CWA and La Belle Maison
    I cannot hurt to contact them - knowledge is power!
     
  6. Talent312

    Talent312 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Chances are pretty good that's not the only charge they made or will make.
    If you still have online access to the account, check for other charges pending.
    .
    .
     
  7. DRIless

    DRIless Guest

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    DEScottzz Call the POLICE now, it will happen again to someone else. You've hit the nail on the head.
    Hobby Airport Marriott is Houston DeniseM
     
  8. DeniseM

    DeniseM Moderator

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    OK :shrug:
     
  9. Beachclubmum

    Beachclubmum Guest

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    Interesting story.

    Ever since that you tube video came out showing the ups guy stealing the fedex package from someone's front porch we have had a front porch camera installed.

    My DH says the ordering software would have logged the ip or MAC address of the person who placed the order. Whether or not someone in fraud cares to follow up is another matter.
     
  10. mdurette

    mdurette TUG Member

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    I once had a few packages delivered to me/my address that I didn't order. Small stuff and found the charges on my card. When I called the CC company, they mentioned it most likely was someone local that had got my info and planned to pick them up on my porch. The packages were there for a few days as we were out of town. My guess is when they came by they saw a police cruiser in my driveway and kept on driving.

    I had a recent situation in Aruba - we went to fill the rental up with gas. It appeared to be pay first - so I went inside while DH was outside. The clerk asked cash or credit. I told her credit and she asked for CC and drivers license. I gave to her and then walked to the door to give DH the thumbs up to start filling. I looked back and the clerk had a piece of paper and she was writing down info from my drivers license. I went back an immediately took the license and CC away from her and changed to cash. Very strange.
     
  11. T-Dot-Traveller

    T-Dot-Traveller TUG Member

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    Because it was Aruba - it is possible that it was simply a policy of getting ID on out of country credit cards . That said - I think I would have paid cash as you did .

    There was a TUG thread last year about Westgate wanting passport numbers from non -American residents when a sales presentation was booked . A great out for Canadians & others who prefer
    not to give out this info - to avoid the pain .
     
  12. jehb2

    jehb2 TUG Member

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    Years ago in Las Vegas I bought a bottle of Gatorade at a small convenience store and paid with a travelers check. The cashier said "I need your social security number and your birthday." I immediately replied "No you don't." She just laughed and gave me my change.
     
  13. DEScottzz

    DEScottzz TUG Member

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    The company said this was a phone order, not an online order, so no ip address to log. Seems that the scammers have worked on refining this plan. I will try to find time today to call the police.
     
  14. Talent312

    Talent312 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    That must'a been many years ago. I don't know anyone who'd bother with TC's these days.
    The universal availability of ATM's and acceptance of debit+credit cards, made 'em obsolete.
    .
     
  15. DEScottzz

    DEScottzz TUG Member

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    A quick update:

    I logged in to my credit card account, and found that five new charges totaling almost $10,000 had been made. These were made on 11/28 and 11/29, before I cancelled the card, but posted just recently. It took another call to get rid of them. One of the charges was $1707 for 2 fancy faucets. These actually made their way to me. When I called the company, the guy told me they have four to five thousand dollars of fraud per week. He said that usually, the scammers order the merchandise, then after it's shipped, call UPS to get it sent somewhere else. He's changed his UPS account so that's not allowed any more.

    Interestingly, four of the charges were on AirBnB. Each was over $1,800.

    The Houston police make it very difficult to report a crime like this on the phone. By calling, I got in line for someone to call me back. They said the call might be in 10 minutes, or it might be at 2 in the morning. It hasn't come yet. But if I don't answer whenever they call, I have to call back the next day and get in line to be called again. I think rather than calling back, I may just fill out a report on the PD web page. That's supposed to be for smaller amounts, but I am not out any money. I just want to tell them where to look for an accomplice.

    all, in all, not a pleasant experience.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018
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  16. Talent312

    Talent312 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Those must'a been some nice faucets.
    You are allowed to keep merchandise you didn't order... (but it would be wrong).
     
  17. GT75

    GT75 Moderator

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    I have turned on to be notified whenever there is a charge to any of my CC via text message. Since I also have an apple watch, it is very easy to look at the charge. At first, I activated this feature my mistake (ie. didn't understand what I was activating). Now, I like the feature and find it very useful (plus I also know where my better half is). The only issue that I now have with it is when I get a charge during off-hours for automatic orders. But, I was also recently notified around 10 PM when Ethiopian Air was charging ~$8K to my CC. A simple (however frustrating call) to the CC company to cancel that one and send me another one.
     
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  18. Talent312

    Talent312 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    I'm texted only when the card is not presented... i.e. charges by phone or online.
    I can see my DW's transit thru the mall by checking her authorized charges online.


    .
     
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