Scam: Fake housekeeping staff ‘inspect’ your hotel room, ransack it instead
A woman was stopped for posing as a member of the hotel maintenance staff and then raiding the room she claimed to have to inspect. It’s an important reminder to be alert, even in seemingly innocent situations.
Fake Hotel Room Housekeeping Staff
After checking into the Four Points Sheraton in Bellingham, Washington, the victim heard a knock on the door. It was Jennifer Lynn Santoro, posing as the housekeeper. She told the victim she needed to check the room to make sure it was well stocked. The victim let her in, didn’t watch her closely and before she knew what hit her, Santoro cleaned her out of her wallet containing credit cards and $2300 in cash and even his keys.
The police were notified and took fingerprints from the room. These were then paired with Santoro, who was recently arrested for loitering in a grocery store before leading police on a high-speed chase in excess of 100 miles per hour.
She is released on $25,000 bail, but faces charges for:
- second degree burglary
- second degree robbery
- first degree criminal impersonation
(As Wing view wonders, who knew it was illegal introducing herself as a Marriott housekeeper?)
It’s easy enough to pretend that you or I wouldn’t have fallen for this scam, but I’m not sure that’s the case. If someone in a hotel uniform knocks on my door, pretends to be cleaning, and wants to make sure my supplies are stocked, I just might let them in. And if I did, I usually don’t hover over them (that’s changing now).
In most cases, I refuse housekeeping service because I don’t like people in my room, especially if my stay is three days or less. Since the vast majority (it seems) of my hotel stays are 1-2 days, I don’t see a lot of housekeeping staff anyway.
But while this scam is unlikely to be scalable, one thing I might do in the future is that if a housekeeper wants to come into my room, I’ll step out of the door, close it, and then tell her to Continue. Unless these thieves have the hotel master keys, this could lead to a very sticky situation…
It’s a strange story, but I don’t blame the confident victim too much. It’s an important lesson, though: be careful who you let into your hotel room.