The dream to relax and rejuvenate in a Mexican boutique hotel soon turned into a nightmarish experience for a traveler when they got scammed in the name of discounts!
The guest, who has a Reddit profile with the handle name “turtlerush” has explained their ordeal in detail.
As per the Reddit post, the guest had received an email from the adult-only resort stating that they could prepay with PayPal to enjoy a discounted stay as well as a welcome drink.
They made the prepayment 3 months back and got the biggest shock of their life when they called the hotel for confirmation at a later date.
To their dismay, Hotel La Semilla informed that they were not aware of any such reservation.
So, the guest forwarded the entire email thread to prove their point.
Asking for a Discount Got Them Duped!
All this started when the guest booked their accommodation at the prestigious property through their official website. However, because of the discrepancy in charges, the guest made a second reservation at Booking.com at a lower price.
They informed the hotel about the same, hoping for a discount.
This is when the guest received the email, which duped them into making prepayment.
As per the reports by View From the Wing, the scammer initially posed as a front desk official and then as the general manager of the boutique hotel while requesting the guest to go for pre-payment.
Image sourced from frla.org
Complete Denial by Mariott’s Hotel La Semilla
The Mexican resort authority denied receiving any such prepayment from the guest through PayPal.
Besides, they contradicted the guest’s claim of receiving any official email from the hotel.
The renowned Mexican resort believes that no one from the Front Desk has ever communicated with the guest or offered any discounts or free drinks.
However, they accepted that the customer had made a PayPal payment of $666.40, which is the original amount initially paid by the guest for booking through the resort’s official website.
They are clueless about the amount of $505.95, which the guest claims to have prepaid to the scammer.
The hotel authority also claimed that their front desk email system had been “hacked.”
Aftermath of the Hotel Phishing Scam
Leff, the writer of View from the Wing, believes that the written communication proofs would definitely bring justice to the guest.
The guest is looking forward to getting their $505.95 back and is not comfortable staying at the same property ever again.
How to Protect Yourself Against Phishing Scams in Hospitality Industry?
This recent phishing scam at the prestigious Mexican boutique hotel has once again stirred up the debate around the rising threat of cybercrime in the hospitality industry.
As per the 2022 report of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the hospitality industry loses almost 5% to 6% of its annual revenue to phishing scams.
Now the million-dollar question arrives- how can a traveler secure themselves against potential cyber frauds and phishing scams?
Here’s a checklist to follow!
- Avoid clicking on any suspicious links or opening emails that claim to be from any prestigious hotel.
- In case you receive such an email, you can always get in touch with the hotel for confirmation through their website chatbot, customer care service or mobile application.
- Be extra cautious and wary about hotel phishing scams in the holiday season. The scammers target travelers in the peak season based on their online activities.
- It is better to make the bookings through the official website of the hotels rather than any third-party hotel reservation website.
Your vacation can soon turn into a distressful experience if you fall prey to phishing scammers.
Know the red flags, make a knowledgeable decision, and be careful before you hit the “Pay Now” button. Incorporating phishing protection measures can be vital. A conscientious decision can save you from falling prey to a phishing scammer who might take you from your hard-earned money in an instant!