Yet another entry in the “if it sounds too good to be true, it’s a con” files: the Accommodation Association of Australia is warning people to ignore telemarketing calls offering discount hotel dining packages. If you sign up, your credit card could get hit with thousands of dollars in unauthorised charges.
Picture by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
A statement from the Association outlines the details of the scam:
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. 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.
At least eight victims of the con have been identified so far.
Accommodation bargains are an area where slippery practices are unfortunately all too common. Given the likelihood of a scam, my standard advice remains: just hang up whenever a telemarketer or anyone unknown calls. If someone claims to be your bank or Microsoft or Telstra warning you of a problem they want to “fix”, ask them for callback details. Scammers won’t supply a number (though they may get very aggressive while refusing to do so). If you do get given a number, check that it’s actually for the relevant organisation.