HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The Better Business Bureau of North Alabama has a scam to report.
The BBB states that a local business owner lost $3,000 to a Hotels.com impostor. Officials say further research uncovered a network of impostors using Expedia Group’s name, the parent company of Hotels.com, that is scammer customers out of thousands of dollars.
BBB officials say they’ve received similar scam reports from 16 different states and Canada, with losses totaling more than $10,000.
The north Alabama victim arrived at the hotel where his original reservation was made with Hotels.com and was given a room that did not reflect the booking. According to the BBB, the hotel clerk told him to call Hotels.com customer service to straighten it out, and the person who answered the phone claiming to be Jason Patel, a general manager, and said he would could get another room but would have to pay more using gift cards.
An investigation by the BBB revealed there was no Patel working as a general manager at Hotels.com or Expedia.
Expedia Group is taking steps to counteract impostors like this.
The BBB offers the following tips to help defend yourself against such scams;
- Trustworthy companies will never demand a gift card as any form of payment and consumers should never have pay to get money back. This includes reading numbers off a gift card to someone over the phone.
- Using a search engine does not guarantee getting the correct number. Always go directly to a website to find contact information. Large companies often have a “Contact Us” button or a help hotline number directly on their webpage.
- Verify customer service numbers given to you., even by company personnel.