room service scam


‘This simple mistake could cost you thousands’: Hotel room service scam steals your card info with menu trick

'I worked at a front desk and it happens so often.'


Braden Bjella


Posted on Apr 25, 2022   Updated on Apr 25, 2022, 12:16 pm CDT

A TikToker has gone viral after sharing a tip about a common hotel scam.

In the video, user Ali (@huskymuscles) tells a story about a family ordering room service. After waiting for an hour without receiving food, they decide to call the front desk. The front desk tells them that they never received an order from their room.

Confused, the family logs onto his online banking account to see that their debit card has been charged over $6,000. They then realize they’ve been scammed.

Ali’s video currently has over 1.6 million views.

While it’s unclear which specific incident Ali is referring to, this is a relatively common scam. 

News reports from across the U.S. document many incidents similar to the story Ali laid out in his video. 

Here’s how the scam works. A fake delivery menu is placed in a hotel room, either by a previous guest or by having the menu slipped under the door.

When someone orders from the “restaurant,” they are instead connected with a scammer. The scammer then collects their credit or debit card information and charges them money with no intention of sending food.

Sometimes, scammers will use menus from legitimate local restaurants and simply change the phone number. Other times, they will fabricate restaurants entirely.

In comments, TikTokers verified Ali’s advice.

“This is so true,” claimed one user. “I worked at a front desk and it happens so often. never order from those flyers!!!! they’re usually pizza flyers.”

In the case of room service specifically, users noted that the front desk should already have your information on file and therefore not need you to give it again.

“They should never ask for card info when you order room service,” explained a user. “It just comes when you order it and it’s added into the bill after.”

Still, others questioned how dialing an outside number for room service didn’t arouse suspicion. Some speculated that Ali simply misspoke and was referring to an outside restaurant, while others told stories of their own experiences in hotels with room service linked to an outside number.

“I stayed in a holiday in[n] by Disneyland that had a burger place attached to it,” recalled one user. “You could order food and have it delivered.”

But in most cases, as Ali writes, the scammers are just “hoping people make a mistake and call their menu.”

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*First Published: Apr 25, 2022, 9:31 am CDT