How to Deal With Fraudulent Marriott Robocalls

A number of high-profile U.S. organizations and companies have been the target of unrelenting scam robocall attempts. In the last several years, enterprises such as Google, Verizon, and the IRS had had to deal with a scourge of illegal robocalls in which the scammers are posing as employees or representatives of these companies. 

The hospitality group Marriott International hasn’t been spared the robocall-related trials and tribulations, either. In 2015, it was first reported that a series of scam telephone calls were being falsely made on behalf of Marriott. During these calls, the robocaller will typically offer the person on the other end of the line a complimentary stay at one of the Marriott hotels. In return, the recipient of the call would have to listen to a sales pitch not connected to Marriott.

How to Recognize a Marriott Robocall Scam

Marriott scam calls are automated, pre-recorded messages that will typically offer you “a free stay at a 5-star hotel” or an “all-inclusive dream vacation” at one of the Marriott hotels. They might also refer to a contest you allegedly entered and won. 

At the end of the automated message, you might be transferred to an agent who will most likely attempt to get your credit card or personal information. Needless to say, you should not provide those details or interact with the caller in any way.

What Else Is Known About Marriott Hotel Robocalls?

Scammers posing on behalf of Marriott are targeting both U.S. and Canadian citizens. It is suspected that the fraudulent callers are running their operations from Cancun, Mexico, which makes them immune to the U.S./Canadian laws regarding consumer rights (such as the American Telephone Consumer Protection Act). 

Frustrated consumers—some of which claimed that they received up to ten such calls daily—reported that these calls always appeared as if they were coming from a local number, which means that the scammers spoofed the numbers. Spoofing is a technique that makes the caller’s number look similar to your number, tricking you into believing this is a familiar caller or someone from your area.

What Is Marriott Doing About These Robocalls?

The company stated on their official Facebook page that these calls are not placed by an authorized representative of Marriott, nor has the company disclosed their customers’ personal

information to the parties involved in these scam calls. 

The hospitality giant advises that, if you receive a suspicious telephone call that’s allegedly from Marriott, you should not disclose any personal information (particularly your debit or credit card details). 

The best course of action is to hang up, then report the call to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

The resort group announced that their legal team was working diligently to find the source of these robocalls and put an end to them.

Why Are Robocall Scams, Such as the Marriott Hotels Robocalls, so Common?

According to USA Today, it takes a single “successful” attempt out of 100,000 fraudulent robocalls for the whole operation to become financially profitable for the scammers.  Scam calls can be a lucrative business, easy to set up and run. They also often elude the authorities.

The VoIP technology allows the fraudsters to massively and simultaneously call thousands of individuals over the Internet at virtually no cost. The FCC has been overwhelmed with consumer complaints about illegal robocalls, making this the most common consumer grievance in America

While the industry continues its efforts in the fight against call spoofing and illegal spam calls, it’s becoming increasingly important to educate consumers about the perils presented by illicit robocalls. The fewer people fall for the phone call scams, the less worthwhile it will be for the fraudsters to pursue these types of activities.

How to Recognize a Robocall Scam 

You can recognize a scam call by identifying some frequent patterns. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but should give you a solid idea of what to expect when you receive a suspicious robocall:

  • The caller is pretending to be calling on behalf of a well-known government institution or company
  • The caller is doing their best to convince you there has been a sudden problemone that can only be rectified if you wire funds or give away your personal or credit card information
  • The caller is informing you that you have won a prize or entered a contestto unlock the prize, you would first need to confirm your financial or personal details 

If you’re still in doubt about the legitimacy of the call, know that well-intended companies will never put you in a position in which you have to disclose your sensitive information in a potentially risky way. You shouldn’t give away any personal information to a robocaller or an agent that you’ve been transferred to during the call. 

Instead, you should hang up as soon as possible. If the caller is authentic, they will contact you in a different way or, at the very least, leave a voicemail. Legitimate callers will always make it easy to verify their identity and allow you to provide your personal information in the safest way possible. 

What Is the Difference Between Legal and Illegal Robocalls?

Just hearing the word “robocall” might push your buttons, but in truth, not all robocalls are irritating, harmful, or illegal. In fact, some of them are a useful tool in instances when a legitimate organization or government agency needs to reach out to a large number of people quickly and efficiently (such as a public service announcement amidst a natural disaster). Similarly, your local pharmacy or medical service provider can opt to remind you of your appointment through a pre-recorded, automated call.

You may think that telemarketing calls are all spam and should be illegal, and they usually are unless you’ve given the callers written consent to reach out to you in such a way. 

You may be partially responsible for some of the robocalls coming your way. Have you signed any Terms of Use you didn’t carefully read beforehand? If so, you’ve likely agreed to telemarketing calls from that company without being aware of it.

Refer to the table below for a complete list of legal vs. illegal robocalls.

Type of Robocall

Legal/Illegal

Informational robocalls (e.g. appointment reminders)

Legal
Scam calls

Illegal

Public service announcements

Legal
Charity robocalls

Legal

Debt collection agency robocalls

Legal
Telemarketing calls to which you’ve agreed in writing

Legal

Telemarketing calls to which you didn’t agree in writing

Illegal
Political robocalls

Legal

What to Do if You Get an Illegal Robocall?

If you’re fed up with illegal robocalls holding your landline and cell phone hostage, it’s time to take up a stand and fight back against them. This process may not be 100% efficient in preventing and blocking these calls, but it will unburden your telephone lines (and life) from robocall junk.

Refer to the table below for a simple overview of the most important things to do and to avoid in your efforts to curb spam and scam robocalls.

Do’s

Don’ts 

  • Hang up as soon as you realize you’re dealing with a fraudulent caller
  • Don’t answer if the caller’s number strikes you as unfamiliar or suspicious
  • Be mindful of spoofing—the caller’s number may look like it’s coming from your city or state when in reality it’s originating from elsewhere (often from abroad)
  • Don’t press any keys on your keypad or interact with the caller in any way
  • Don’t allow the call to go to a human operator
  • Don’t disclose any personal information or credit card details

Be aware that even if you list your number on the Do Not Call Registry, scammers will likely disregard that and call you anyway. The Registry was created with the primary purpose of stopping unwanted sales calls. 

This means that certain callers can get in touch with you through robocalls despite your Registry listing. To find out more about the entities which are exempt from abiding by the Registry, check our article on the Do Not Call exceptions.

How to Stop Marriott Robocalls

Seeing that the rates of illegal robocalls have been off the charts in recent years—an outstanding 54.6 billion robocalls have been recorded in 2019 in the U.S. alone—the government launched an anti-robocall protocol known as SHAKEN/STIR (sometimes also referred to as STIR/SHAKEN). 

SHAKEN/STIR refers to a system of frameworks mandated by the FCC that’s designed to curb spam calls and call spoofing. By relying on digital certificates, phone carriers can verify that the calling number is secure and not spoofed

If the incoming call is labeled as potential spam or a fraud attempt on a network level, the phone company has the ability to cut it off before it reaches the user. Should the carrier allow the call to go through, it has to warn the user that the incoming call might be a scam or spam.

As with other types of illegal robocalls, there are steps you can take to stop robocalls that are misrepresenting Marriott Hotels. Consider one or all of the following:

  1. Robocall-blocking device
  2. Robocall-blocking apps
  3. Manual blocking of selected numbers

Robocall-Blocking Device

If your traditional landline is overwhelmed by unlawful robocalls, the best course of action is to invest in a robocall-blocking device such as the CPR V5000. 

This accessory can make a massive difference in your fight against phone scammers and unrelenting telemarketers. It gives you the ability to block off selected area codes, filter out spam calls or calls without a caller ID, and more. Just make sure that the Caller ID service on your phone is switched on. It will allow the device to correctly identify which calls it should let through, vs. those that it should block.

Robocall-Blocking Mobile Apps

In theory, mobile phones should be spared the annoyance presented by robocalls—but, as any cell phone user in the U.S. today knows, that is not the case. The good news is that there is an antidote in the form of robocall-blocking mobile apps that are either free or quite affordable. We have selected the best ones available on the market at the moment.

Robocall-Blocking app

Pricing 

Benefits

Truecaller

  • Free for basic service
  • $2.99/month for Truecaller Premium
  • $14.99/year for Truecaller Premium
  • Ability to reveal the ID of the unknown caller
  • Ability to record phone calls
  • Ability to block telemarketing and scam calls

Nomorobo

  • $1.99/month
  • Free for VoIP landlines
  • Possibility to report illegal robocalls to authorities
  • Accurate call filtering system
  • Spam call and text detection
  • Ability to block spam and scam calls

Hiya

  • Free for basic service
  • $2.99/month for Hiya Premium
  • $14.99/year for Hiya Premium
  • Precise spam detection ability
  • Option to block selected calls 
  • Capacity to reveal the ID of the unfamiliar caller

Manual Blocking of Selected Numbers

To prevent a persistent caller from ever reaching you again, you can use your smartphone’s built-in feature that allows you to block specific phone numbers.

To activate the feature, Android smartphone users should:

  1. Open the Phone app
  2. Tap on the three dots in the top right corner
  3. Choose Call Settings
  4. Select Reject Calls
  5. Enter the number they want to block by tapping the “+” button
  6. Confirm the blocking action

To block callers on an iPhone, users should do the following:

  1. Open the Phone app
  2. Tap on the Recents tab 
  3. Select the “i” symbol next to the number that needs to be blocked
  4. Select Block this Caller
  5. Confirm the blocking

Are You Eligible for a Robocall Settlement?

Gizmodo - cancel robocalls and sue robocallers

If you’re a robocall victim, you may be eligible to receive compensation for the inconvenience or financial damage. You should report the received robocall to the Federal Trade Commission by filling out an online form. This form should include information about the caller ID, the number you were possibly told to call back, as well as any other key details related to the robocall.

Of course, you can always file a lawsuit against the parties responsible for the illegal robocall, if you know who they are (such as a legitimate company bombarding you with unsolicited sales robocalls). 

You might do so by contacting a lawyer or law firm that concentrates on consumer protection matters. If you’d like to circumvent lawyers or need to find out the identity of the caller first, then you’ll find DoNotPay’s Robo Revenge feature immensely helpful.

Make Marriott Scam Callers Pay (Literally) With Our Help

Cancel robocalls and sue robocallers

Have you heard about DoNotPay’s Robo Revenge yet? This groundbreaking feature does exactly what its name suggests—helps you get revenge on the parties behind the fraudulent robocalls. You can now hold the scammers accountable by making them pay for the headache they caused you. 

By using DoNotPay’s free virtual credit card, you will be provided with a temporary credit card number that’s not linked to any particular bank account. The scammers, however, will not know that—to them, this will look like legit credit card information. All you need to do is wait for them to try to withdraw money using the information you provided. 

The process of taking revenge on the scammers consists of a few straightforward steps:

  1. Answer the call you suspect might be a scam
  2. Open the DoNotPay website in your web browser or iOS device
  3. Select the Robo Revenge option 
  4. Click or tap on the Create Your Card icon to create a virtual credit card number
  5. When asked, provide the fake card number to the scammers
  6. Once available, DoNotPay will share the scammers’ information with you

Upon your demand, we can then generate a compensation request letter on your behalf or help you file a claim to sue the scammers. The fraudsters will likely want to avoid going to court, so you may receive a settlement of up to $3,000!

At the moment, Robo Revenge is applicable only for calls operated from the U.S. Illicit robocalls coming from abroad often escape persecution because they fall outside American federal and state jurisdiction.  

Getting Things Done With DoNotPay

DoNotPay can be the hardworking sidekick in your life that keeps things moving along, even on the busiest of days. Not only can we help you teach scam callers a lesson, but we can also tackle the most humdrum errands on your behalf. Did you know that DoNotPay can also lend a helping hand with paying or lowering your bills?

You can access DoNotPay via a web browser or download it on your iOS device.

DoNotPay can provide assistance with: