A sharp hotel manager went viral on TikTok after he exposed an elaborate hotel scam attempt and highlighted fraudsters’ evolving tactics.
Joshua (@rossyj159) posted the video, which provided a cautionary tale for businesses and individuals alike. In it, he shared an intricate scam centered around a Verizon cell phone that was sent to his workplace.
@rossyj159 They tried it! #hotellife #workflow #work #scammers #scammeralert ♬ original sound – Joshua R
Joshua said that he received a package intended for a hotel guest, who was due to arrive much later. He safely stowed the package away in his office, he said, pending the guest’s arrival.
But then the guest called the hotel, claiming that he “accidentally sent” a package to them. “Can I possibly send you my shipping label and have you forward it to me?” Joshua said the guest asked. Playing along, the manager agreed and awaited the shipping details.
His suspicion grew, however, after he examined the package’s sender: Verizon. Drawing from prior experience, Joshua said that he recognized a potential scam.
“Basically, these people will… order a phone from, like, a provider. Or they’ll submit an insurance claim that their phone was, like, lost or stolen or damaged,” he explained. “And then they’ll ship it to a business, like a hotel, and then they will have the hotel forward it to this other address.”
Joshua’s suspicions were confirmed after researching the forwarding address on the shipping label. Upon a quick search, he said he realized that it was connected to several online scam alerts.
As a result, Joshua said that he “will be taking that package to the Verizon store tomorrow, and… sending it back.”
“Yeah, not today,” he added. “You will not pull one over on me today, scammer. Sorry.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to Joshua via TikTok comment and to Verizon by email. As of Tuesday evening, Joshua’s video had over 221,300 views, with many users appalled by the lengths to which scammers will go. Others encouraged Joshua to take matters into his own hands.
“Dang never would [have] thought that was a thing,” one wrote. “Nice catch !!!”
“Never heard of this scam before thanks for alerting us!” another echoed.
“You should use the shipping label to send a box of rocks or something,” a third person quipped.
A number of comments lauded Joshua’s sharp instincts. But one commenter still wasn’t clear on the scam: “Okay I’m dense,” they wrote. “Someone explain to me how this scam works.”
In a second video, Joshua gave a brief explainer. Essentially, he said, the scammer will hack into someone else’s wireless account in order to get a new phone or submit an insurance claim. Then, the hacker will ship the new phone or electronic to a hotel where they have already made a fake reservation with a phony identity. The scammer will then attempt to re-route the package to themselves—creating “more degrees of separation between” the phone provider and them, Joshua explained.
Indeed, the broader online community is now more alert to such tactics. Even Verizon’s website now warns customers to protect themselves against scams like these. Recently, the company even sent warnings on various customer data attacks.