Women Sues Hilton After Finding Video Camera In Room’s Alarm Clock

A woman is suing the Hilton Dallas/Southlake Town Square after finding a camera inside the alarm clock at her bedside though it seems like it was placed there by a person who was pretending to be CEO of a nonexistent company, flew her into town for a job interview, checked her into the hotel under a fake name and provided her with the key. What?

The young woman says the job posting was for a significant six-figure salary with plenty of paid time off.

Now, she claims the job was not real, and the posting may have been a plot to secretly record her — or even something worse.

The recent college graduate did a Zoom interview and then a fly out, expecting a “significant six figure salary” but that didn’t seem amiss to her. And, it seems, she didn’t do much research on who was bringing her out for the interview which doesn’t sound like great preparation for an interview.

After she undressed in the room “to get ready to meet the CEO for dinner” (!) she reports that “two large men opened her door and walked in.” But they left, saying they thought the room was.. vacant. She finally felt something was amiss, because apparently everything up until then seemed totally normal. So she started looking for cameras and found one inside the clock beside her bed.

As soon as she found the camera and unplugged it, she got a call from the CEO asking if everything was alright. So she left and flew home, and never heard from the man that was going to hire her about missing the interview.

Given the facts as they’re laid out in the woman’s lawsuit it’s not obvious to me that the hotel failed to employ adequate security procedures. Rather she was induced to travel to an interview without doing her due diligence.

I’ve written about a woman suing Hilton for $100 million because an employee videotaped her in the shower and used the tape to blackmail her. There’s even been a subscription website where people paid to watch hotel guests being spied on in their rooms. Airbnb has a problem with hidden cameras in homes placed there by owners, too.

Of course in Japan you can rent a room where you’re only charged $1 because they actually advertise that you’ll be livestreamed on YouTube.

Here’s advice I’ve offered on finding any devices that may be in your room. Check for plaster near the wall or on furniture, because that could be from pinholes that were drilled. Look for unusual placement of objects (to get just the right angle on you). Look for new paint in areas. And listen for static from the hotel phone (which might mean a radio signal).

I believe major chain hotels – as a brand standard – should conduct regular sweeps to ensure guest privacy. This would be a nice differentiator from Airbnb. But it wouldn’t have helped the woman who flew to Dallas for an interview if the perp placed the camera in her room after he’d checked her in.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. I’m, not sure how this is the Hilton’s fault. The woman ought to sue the fake CEO for false representation, or herself for admitting unknown goons to her room.

  2. Part of a lawsuit is you have to prove the defendant could have prevented this within reason. I’d say Hilton is just a victim here. How do you hold Hilton accountable in this case?

    That said, my confidence in the intelligence of America has taken a severe beating over the last few years, and this is just an extension of that. When you are being flown in for an interview that promises a 6 figure salary, you need to prepare. As you state, she didn’t do that. Shame on her.

    But there are red flags even for this lawsuit. She searched for a camera only AFTER 2 men came in thinking the room was vacant? When you are a woman traveling alone, heck when you are a man traveling alone, you take precautions. I’ve taught my kids that. This lawsuit smells funny.

  3. Sounds like the Fake CEO and recent graduate might be in this together

    Too many red flags
    1) If he flew her out, he paid for her flight with a credit card and that can track him down
    2) Recent college grad with a degree in what? Liberal Arts or Gender Studies. How do you not research the company you are flying in to interview with?
    3) The CEO of a major company doesn’t interview entry level people unless she’s a personal secretary.
    4) What special skills does a recent college grad have that seems so unprepared that they’ll fly you in AND meet with the CEO

  4. If hotels take it as their responsibility to sweep homes for illicit monitoring devices placed by hotel owners/management, hotel employees, hotel contractors and hotel guests, then the hotel failures to stop such illicit monitoring/recording surveillance devices can constitute a service failure by the hotel and all that it may mean in a PR and litigation risk context for the hotels.

    When people with extensive resources at their disposal want to be assured that they are unlikely to be surreptitiously monitored at hotels in places where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy as a hotel guest behind closed doors, they have their own folks sweep the room for suspicious RF and potential peep holes/scopes.

  5. The juice isn’t worth the squeeze here. Makes me think this is a set up for a lawsuit.

    The ‘creep’ went through a very elaborate and seemingly expensive plot to get potentially incriminating pictures of this woman. He paid for airfare and hotel. Let’s say that’s 600-800 bucks. He met her in lobby and gave her the key and booked her under an assumed name (why? Makes zero sense if she was an unsuspecting victim)

    She “found” the camera in the clock. How? WTF inspects the clock and who would notice before dinner? This sounds like completely fabricated story.

    Did they find the guy?

  6. Did guest call hotel front desk to complain and or local PD? Hotel capture the offenders on security camera video?

  7. IMO, the story is weird enough to maybe be genuine. I can’t see a likelihood this was an elaborate attempt to manufacture a lawsuit. If you wanted to sue Hilton, you wouldn’t make up the whole fake CEO, fake job interview part. Those details immediately take this fact pattern outside one where Hilton is potentially liable, and instead supply 100% of the necessary defense for the hotel. If someone wanted to set Hilton up, they would just say they inexplicably found the camera device in their room (after planting it there themselves), and hat Hilton was negligent for not having procedures in place to prevent such an eventuality. Honestly a sex trafficking type situation is where this fact pattern seemed headed to me. If her account of events is true, good decision by the young woman to bug out.

  8. I see a scenario that makes sense here:

    He didn’t book **her** under an assumed name. Rather, he booked the room himself under an assumed name, was in it long enough to hide the camera, then gave her the key. No idea about the two guys, perhaps he actually had the room yesterday and the key wasn’t deactivated until someone else checked in.

    I rather suspect the card is going to turn out to be stolen.

  9. Mets Fan in NC is off base by a long shot. The woman in question did in fact do her research on the company, which had a corporate website. The job in question is an exec assistant to the CEO which would naturally involve meeting with the CEO at some point in the interview process. Exec assistants are 24/7 on-call and could be called upon to perform any imaginable duty. This job is performed by people of all educational backgrounds and absolutely earns its six figure compensation.

    Let’s be very clear here, even if the woman had not done due diligence on the company, and even if her background and qualifications fall short of the role, she is 100% not at fault, and she still deserves a hefty sum of cash in damages from these creeps once they are convicted and sent off to prison.

  10. This will be laughed out of any court of law, even in ‘Sangala’: how can this woman prove that the hidden camera, found in a room that’s rented to and can be occupied by anyone, was intended for her and not for some other guest. Does she know how long the camera had been in there? It could’ve been in there for a week or a month as far as anyone knows!

    Elementary, my dear Watson…

  11. @DCS:
    > This will be laughed out of any court of law, even in ‘Sangala’: how can this woman prove that the hidden camera, found in a room that’s rented to and can be occupied by anyone, was intended for her and not for some other guest.

    Given the whole scenario I think it’s pretty clear it was intended for her. She was set up in the room that had the camera. However, I see no reason to blame the hotel here, 100% of the fault lies with the piece of trash that pulled this–and I think his identity will remain unknown.

  12. @Loren — Even given the scenario, you cannot nor can she possibly know whether it was intended for her, if we can figure why she decided to check the alarm clock for a hidden camera in the first place.

    Something fish with the whole story. It’s good to speculate about what happened but this will be laughed out of any court due to lack of hard evidence, unless she had the presence of mind to preserve any fingerprints that might have been left on the camera by the perp.

  13. Most reputable companies track the sale of their products. Shouldn’t take much detective work to track a product sale to the store where purchased. If a credit card was used and/or this alarm clock was purchased online, the owner of that spying alarm clock is as good as caught.

  14. First of all the gentleman that rented the room could have placed the camera before she checked in? Yes hotels have security measures but once you’re checked in the staff going to search the room,it’s an invasion of privacy,until something suspicious comes up than security has every right. Hotels are busy and how are they at fault? Unless she can provide hard evidence the camera was placed before the room was booked by the gentleman.A lot of details missing,did Hilton not check his ID? And if the men walked in they had a key card issued by the front desk.I am not victim blaming but as far as the details shared It’s very hard to find the hotel negligence especially for a huge sum of money etc.

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