Numerous prominent U.S. organizations and companies have been the target of ruthless scam robocall attempts. Marriott International, the hotel group, was not immune to the trials and tribulations associated with robocalls.
In 2015, there were first reports of a series of scam calls in Marriott’s name. On those calls, the robocallers often offered the person on the other end of the line a free night at one of the Marriott hotels. In return, the recipient of the call would love to listen to pitches unrelated to Marriott or provide personal information without any doubt.
What is a Marriott Scam Call or Robocall Scam and Why is it So Risky?
Marriott scam calls are automated, prerecorded messages that usually claim to offer you a “free night at a 5-star hotel” or an “all-inclusive dream vacation” at one of the Marriott hotels. They may also refer to contests that you allegedly entered and won. At the end of the automated message, you may be transferred to an agent who is likely to try to obtain your credit card or personal information. Needless to say, you should not provide these details or interact with the caller in any way. The call may have been part of an ongoing phone scam that took advantage of the brand’s well-known name to obtain the personal and financial information of potential guests. What’s worse, Robocall scams can damage a company’s brand reputation and put the business at the disadvantage of having to do a serious cleanup.
TripAdvisor is a case in point: its independent internal investigators uncovered a massive robocall scam while investigating a wave of customers accusing travel companies of extorting them from bad reviews. Fraudster Adrian Abramovich and his firm Marketing Strategy Leaders and Marketing Leaders allegedly made 100 million illicit robocalls in just three months, using pre-recorded messages to lure customers and tout vacations from Marriott, TripAdvisor, and others combo. When hapless customers press “1” on their phones, they’re connected to call centers in Mexico that offer deceptive vacation packages, which don’t even exist.
How to Recognize a Marriot Scam Call or Robocall Scam？
You can spot Marriot scam calls by recognizing some common patterns. You should be vigilant in the following situations:
- The caller is calling under the name of a well-known government agency or company.
- The caller is doing their best to convince you that there is a sudden problem – the problem can only be corrected if you wire funds or reveal your personal or credit card information.
- The caller notifies you that you have won a prize or entered a contest – to unlock the prize you will first need to confirm your financial or personal details.
If you’re still in doubt about the legality of a phone call, you should bear in mind that well-meaning companies will never put you in a situation where you have to disclose sensitive information in a potentially risky way. You should not disclose any personal information to robocalls or agents to whom you are transferred during a call. Instead, you should hang up as soon as possible. If the caller was real, they would have reached out to you in another way, or at least left a voicemail. Legitimate callers can always easily verify their identity and allow you to provide your personal information in the most secure way possible.
How to Stop Marriott Scam Calls or Robocalls?
If you’re tired of illegally taking your landline and mobile phone hostage, it’s time to step up and fight them back. The following measures will lighten the load on your phone line and keep it safe from robocall junk.
Register the National Do Not Call List
The National Do Not Call Registry is a database maintained by the U.S. federal government that lists phone numbers for individuals and households who ask telemarketers not to contact them. Federal law requires certain callers to comply with this request. There are two ways to add your number to the do not call list, and registration is free. You can visit DoNotCall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236) from the phone you want to register. After registering, you will receive an email with a link you need to click within 72 hours to complete the registration.
Using a Third-Party App RealCall
RealCall is a tool focusing on blocking spam calls and text messages for iOS and Android. Based on a strong number base and iterative blocking rules, it can effectively block 99% of robocalls, scam calls, marketing calls, and of course spam text messages. No matter what type of spam you receive, RealCall is always there for you and handles it for you. RealCall uses advanced blocking technology to help get ahead of spammers before answering unknown calls. Additionally, RealCall constantly upgrades its blocking rules based on trending spam, neighbor spoofing, scams, pranks, telemarketers, and other unwanted text messages we collect in real-time. RealCall provides every user with extra security and added protection from scammers while enjoying protection and peace.
Report the Scam Call to the Relevant Organizations
If you are an American and you have lost money to a phone scam or have information about the company or scammer who called you, please report it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. The FTC will analyze complaint data and trends to identify illegal callers based on call patterns. They also use other information you report, such as any name or phone number you’ve been told to call back, to track down scammers. This helps phone carriers and other partners working on call blocking and call labeling solutions. Your report also helps law enforcement identify the person behind the illegal call.
If you are a Canadian and you feel you have been scammed by a phone call, you can report your experience to the following organizations. If you receive an unsolicited commercial email, you can report it to the Spam Reporting Centre; if you receive a phone call, email, or text message that results in the loss of money or personal information, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), which by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Ontario Provincial Police and the Competition Bureau; for any other unsolicited calls, Canadians are encouraged to file a complaint with the National Do Not Call List (DNCL).
Related: How to Report Spam Calls and Texts