No Blog Reader Would Ever Fall For This Housekeeping Tourist Scam, Right?

A woman dressed up as a Marriott housekeeper to convince a guest to open the door to their room. She rummaged around the room at the Four Points Sheraton Bellingham, Washington while pretending to provide ‘service’ – and stole car keys, a wallet, credit cards, and $2300 in cash.

The thief faces charges of second-degree burglary and second-degree theft, but also first-degree criminal impersonation who knew it was illegal to present yourself as Marriott housekeeping?

Here’s how it went down:

  • The guest checked into her room

  • Then a woman “knocked on her door and stated she was housekeeping and was just there to check to make sure there was an appropriate amount of supplies in the room”

  • The thief went “around the room checking various areas…[the guest] did not watch [the ‘housekeeper’] the entire time she was in her room.

So how was the woman caught? She was in a parking lot at a Winco “where she had permanently been banned from entering,” and that led to the police looking into her and finding (multiple) outstanding warrants including for this burglary – since she’d been identified by her fingerprints and hotel surveillance video.

The arresting officer told her to turn the engine of her vehicle off – but she slammed it into reverse and drove off and led police on a high speed chase at over 100 miles an hour.

Now, as blog readers know, most hotels aren’t doing unprompted housekeeping service. You’re lucky if you can get daily housekeeping on request. And they’re certainly not doing housekeeping on the day of arrival for a room that’s already been turned. They’re also not proactively coming into your room to make sure you have supplies.

Some of this is cost-cutting that hotels have always wanted to do. Some of it is magnified by the difficulty finding workers. But remember that hotels were cutting back on in-room items long before Covid-19, from wall-mounted toiletries to asking guests to re-use towels and skip housekeeping entirely (something you used to get bonus points for).

Any time a housekeeper comes to your room outside of the very top hotels to proactively provide you with more costly in-room items you should be skeptical. And at the very top hotels they’d wait until you’ve left to do this to ensure they’re not inconveniencing you in the process.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Who knew the Four Points by Sheraton Bellingham Hotel & Conference Center in Bellingham Washington ever had housekeeping.

  2. Thieves are impersonating front desk personnel also in an attempt to steal your credit card info. A sure way to tell a Marriott imposter is: When checking in, you’re
    A) Cheerfully greeted
    B) Offered an elite upgrade
    C) Offered an elite breakfast

  3. Telltale sign there was, you know Marriott cannot be doing this or any kind of service proactively.

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