As you know, I was on vacation for a short while. I returned home the evening of April 26th.
Lo and behold, this morning, I discovered a charge posted to my checking account for $534.60 by HOTELS.COM US 800-219-4608 WA 04/28. ON MY DEBIT CARD.
The problem is -- I did not book my hotel through Hotels.com; I did not book anything through Hotels.com. The amount that I paid for my hotel room (booked, incidentally, directly on the hotel's own website), was much much lower, and I paid for my room at check-in with a CREDIT CARD.
I called my bank immediately upon discovering this bogus debit charge. But before I did that, I called the "800" number embedded in the debit information and this was what I heard: We're sorry. The number you have called is no longer in service. Please visit out website." CLICK. Dial tone. No website url given on that recording, OF COURSE.
I knew at once I had been victimized by a thief or gang of thieves. How they got hold of my debit card number, I have no idea, because I do NOT use it to buy airline tickets, book vacations or make hotel reservations.
After explaining what had happened to a very helpful bank representative, I was waiting for a call back and I went directly to google.com and typed in the HOTELS.COM US 800-219-4608 WA on the search bar.
Immediately I discovered hundreds of reports of FRAUD, some outright fraud with unauthorized charges on debit cards and credit cards, some where unsuspecting consumers had booked hotel rooms with hotels.com only to arrive at their destination and discover that no such rooms had been booked. And lots and lots of other stories, too.
Within 30 minutes or so I received a call back from my bank rep and later, an email, indicating that my "claim" against the charge had been granted and my account would be credited for the full amount of the debit.
So, please BEWARE! And this is a lesson to me to check my online bank account and card activity EVERY SINGLE DAY. Cuz, darlings, I wasn't looking for this, I was just looking to confirm the deposit of my paycheck today. HOLY HATHOR!
P.S. The thief or thieves struck again today, but this time posting a debit for a mere $1 charged to POS DEBIT HOTELS.COM US 800-248-8357 WA. My bank representative told me that this is often done by legitimate companies to "test" that the card information is legitimate, and once confirmed, the charge is "erased." That being said, it is also done by fraudsters to make it appear that the other charge(s) submitted are legitimate! That telephone number was ALSO "no longer in service."