Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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March 27, 2013

Hotel guests tricked by fake front desk clerk

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — Hotel guests in this northeastern New York community recently had their credit cards misused by a caller claiming to be the front desk clerk.

Calling the guests by name, the caller told them the hotel’s computer system was down and their credit card numbers were needed to replace the information lost in the outage.

Several of them provided the information over the phone only to discover later their cards had been used for numerous unauthorized online purchases.

The victims told police the fake clerk not only knew their names but the type of credit card they had used to check in, including the first digit of the card's number, which is uniform on credit cards -- 4 for Visa, 5 for Master Card. They said he had a "very convincing" manner.

State police did not identify the hotel but said the caller may have tricked the front desk into divulging the guests' identity and type of credit card. They said similar scams have been reported by hotel chains elsewhere in New York and other states.

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Details for this story were provided by The Plattsburgh (N.Y.) Press-Republican.

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