Staying in a hotel? Don’t fall for this credit card scam.

The rules still apply when you’re cardscam-psychtraveling: don’t give out personal or financial information to anyone unless you initiated contact and know who they are, why they need it and what they’re going to do with it.

A telephone scam that attempts to steal credit card information from hotel guests has resurfaced in Alaska. The potential victim will receive a call on the phone in their hotel room. The caller claims to be an employee of the hotel, and tells the victim there was a problem processing their credit card, then attempts to get the victim to reveal credit card information over the phone.

If you receive such a call, hang up and contact the hotel desk directly and ask about the call. In almost every case, the front desk will tell you they didn’t place the call.

Credit card fee scams.

I haven’t encountered any anecdotes of this scam “in the wild,” but I’m sure it’s happening somewhere.

You may have noticed it’s a bit tricky to get a credit card lately. That’s because everybody went nuts for a few years—lenders were putting plastic into literally every hand that reached for it, and consumers spent, spent, spent like…I won’t say “drunken sailors” because that would be offensive to drunken sailors. It was way worse than that.

Anyway, this whole mess came crashing down on our collective head a couple years ago, and lenders stopped lending irresponsibly. Actually, some of them nearly stopped lending altogether, which was yet another rookie mistake, in my opinion.

At any rate, since there’s nothing that can’t be turned into a scam, the following scenario emerged.

You get an offer for a credit card with a high spending limit, even though your credit score is lower than your shoe size. However, you have to pay a processing fee up front, usually around $100. You send in your payment, and the card never arrives. It’s an incredibly simple scam: promise something, collect payment, never deliver.

By the way, in applying for this card, you’ve also just given your personal information to people (you will soon realize) you can’t trust. Bad scene.

Now, there are legitimate credit cards with annual fees. However, none of them ever require you to pay in advance of getting the card. Don’t fall for this setup.

Besides, if you’re already in credit trouble, what you don’t need is a new credit card with a $7,500 limit. Even if the offer was real, which it’s not, you’d be inviting more trouble into your life.

I heard about this scam from It looks like an informative site, although I haven’t looked around too much on it yet. Check it out, you might find something interesting.

Walmart Gift Card Scam: This one is for real.

Last week, I wrote about false reports of the Walmart Cash Back Scam, and how these hysterical emails are nothing to worry about.

A lot of people have been getting these messages, apparently—that article has brought in a lot of traffic to this site. I hope that means people are relaxing a little, rather than being nasty to Walmart cashiers because they let an email hoax frighten them.

However, I just heard about a new one that involves Walmart and is real—thieves are calling victims with news that they’ve won a $200 gift card from Walmart if they only pay $1 for shipping. The victim reveals their credit card information, and you know what happens next.

(In case you don’t: the card never arrives because it’s a scam. The crooks weren’t from Walmart at all. They just take the victim’s credit card information and use it to make purchases or get cash advances).

If somebody tells you you’ve won something, never pay in advance. Walmart doesn’t just give gift cards away, anyway.

The full story is over at The Money Coach’s Blog. It goes into a little more detail.

Department of Veterans Affairs warns of scam targeting veterans

Well, this is just gross.

According to a warning released by the VA, scam artists have been targeting veterans over the telephone. They claim to be VA workers, telling victims that the VA has new procedures regarding prescriptions, and that they need the veterans’ credit card information.

Of course, the VA will never call veterals asking for credit card numbers or any other personal information.

It just illustrates the Number One Rule of Fraud Prevention:

Never give any personal information to an unsolicited caller, no matter who they claim to be.

If you have friends, family or neighbors who are veterans (especially elderly veterans), make sure they know about this scam, and that they know not to give out personal information.

The source for this post is “Scam targets veterans’ credit card info, VA warns,” published at on 9/18/09.