Scammers target diners at the Ritz by posing as staff to steal their payment card details before trying to spend thousands of pounds at Argos
- Fraudsters phoned people with details of bookings and asked for card details
- The Ritz has confirmed it’s investigating a ‘potential data breach’ on Thursday
- Fraudsters used customer card details to make transactions in excess of £1,000
Scammers have targeted diners at the luxury Ritz hotel in London by posing as staff to steal their payment card details.
Fraudsters phoned people with exact details of their restaurant bookings and asked them to confirm card details before trying to spend thousands of pounds at Argos.
The Ritz told the BBC that it was investigating a ‘potential data breach’ that had occurred within its food and beverage reservation system on Thursday.
One woman who made an online booking for afternoon tea at the five-star establishment said she was phoned by a caller apparently using the Ritz’s user ID number to be told her payment card had been declined.
She was then asked for a second bank card and, having obtained the details, the fraudsters used it to make several transactions in excess of £1,000.
The Ritz restaurant has confirmed it’s investigating a potential data breach that occurred
A second woman confirmed the same trick had been tried on her, but she became suspicious when the caller was unable to answer questions about the Ritz’s facilities.
Dr Jessica Barker, co-founder of cyber security Cygenta, said: ‘People tend to trust caller ID, which is perfectly understandable because in theory it appears to authenticate the caller.
‘On top of that, when a scam like this involves insider information it adds an air of legitimacy and authority.’
The Ritz has not revealed how many people were affected, but confirmed it was still investigating how customer information had been accessed.
It has now emailed customers that may have been affected, warning them: ‘After a reservation has been made at the Ritz London, our team will never contact you by telephone to request credit card details to confirm your booking with us.’
Opened by Swiss hotelier Cesar Ritz in May 1906, the hotel is valued at an estimated £800 million and boasts 111 rooms that have hosted well-known figures such as Noel Coward.