Published: June 27, 2023 on our newsletter Security Fraud News & Alerts Newsletter.
The hospitality industry is not immune to credit card scams. With the increasing reliance on digital payment methods, criminals have become more sophisticated in exploiting vulnerabilities and stealing sensitive financial information. Recently, the restaurant reservations platform, OpenTable, sent a letter to users warning of an uptick in scams targeting diners and advised all restaurant-goers to be aware of the risks and how to avoid choosing that menu item.
Types of Credit Card Scams
Skimming Devices: Criminals discreetly install skimming devices on point-of-sale (POS) systems or handheld payment terminals to capture credit card information during transactions.
These are difficult to spot sometimes but pay attention to any additional item that may be attached to any device you insert your card into. If you can’t be sure, pay another way, such as using the tap functionality. If you do notice something, contact a manager.
Data Breaches: Restaurants may experience data breaches, wherein hackers gain unauthorized access to their systems, compromising customers' payment card details.
There is not a lot a customer can do to prevent being a victim of this, other than pull out the cash to pay the tab. However, if you ever get a notification that a breach occurred at a place you patronized, pay close attention to your payment card charges. If anything is off menu, contact the card issuer to resolve it. The sooner you do this, the better.
Phishing Scams: Fraudsters send deceptive emails or text messages impersonating legitimate institutions, tricking restaurant employees into disclosing payment card information or login credentials.
Knowing how to spot phishing isn’t a new menu item. If you receive a call after dining regarding a payment that didn’t process or the establishment needs your payment details again, let them know you’ll call back and do that using a number you find on the website or through another source. Don’t call back using any information the caller provides. Same goes for email messages.
Because data breaches are so pervasive these days, it’s always a wise choice to remain vigilant and protect payment card information by covering PINs during transactions, using secure payment methods, and monitoring accounts regularly. These tips will help you stay ahead of scammers so they don’t get a seat at your table.
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