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It was a clear Sunday morning, I was having breakfast, sitting at home in California. I perused my email, and noticed something odd.
- that I had successfully removed and added a credit card to my Hilton Honors account
- three new Hilton Honors booking redemptions
- confirmation of a digital key request
The bookings were all for three Hilton properties. That’s odd. I have not touched or have done any changes or bookings with my Hilton account. And Florida? I was sitting just fine in California.
Three fraudulent reservations
I consider myself as someone who always checks his personal email, and noticed that these emails from Hilton started from two days ago, and I just noticed them two days later. I completely missed them. I checked my Hilton account, and cross-referenced the emails I received:
- Embassy Suites near Busch Gardens
- Home2Suites near Busch Gardens
- Hotel Alba Tampa, Tapestry Collection by Hilton
Total damage was nearly 300,000 Hilton Honors Points.
What I did to follow up
- I called Hilton Honors 1-800-446-6677
- Spoke with a representative and reported the fraudulent activity
- I gave my Hilton Honors account number and the properties in question
- I was provided separate escalation case numbers
- I was given the name of the individual who used my account, and confirmed if I recognized the name which I didn’t
- I was told that the escalation is in process, and will hear back from the fraud department within 5 business days
- My account Hilton account temporarily suspended until further notice or resolution is met
- I changed my Hilton Honors account password
What I learned from the three properties with fraudulent reservations
- Embassy Suites near Busch Gardens – the individual who booked the stay from April 29 – May 1st was kicked out on April 30. How? He and two other companions were smoking in the guest room. They were kicked out because of that incident. When the staff searched the room they noticed printouts of different identifications, which led to more investigation. I was informed they checked in using KIPSU, a chat program that they used to hack and communicate with the hotel
- Home2Suites near Busch Gardens – the stay never never happened. The system caught the fraudulent activity, and the system canceled their stay
- Hotel Alba Tampa, Tapestry Collection by Hilton – the stay was canceled when Hilton also noticed another chat request from this guest who asked for a digital key to be issued to another person.
All three properties informed me they are working with their fraud department and that my points would be returned. A half hour after I called one of the properties, I noticed the 76,000 points have been returned so far (that’s a one night stay at Hotel Alba). I will keep an eye on the progress with the other two properties.