Marriott files lawsuit against robocall scammers

Telemarketer robocaller scam calling smartphone with woman holding telephone in house

One of the world’s biggest hotel companies has filed a lawsuit against “John Does” in a bid to put a stop to fraudulent “robocalls”.

Marriott International filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday in Virginia against the “unknown perpetrators” (John Does) behind a spate of robocalls using the chain’s name.

The suit claims the perpetrators are using Marriott’s brand for their own commercial gain in violation of state and federal laws.

Marriott said in a release that it will aggressively pursue the identities of the robocallers to halt these illegal acts affecting consumers and its brand identity.

Robocalls are a deceptive form of telemarketing involving pre-recorded telephone calls to convince consumers to hand over money or personal details by falsely representing a trusted company or government iorganisation.

Robocallers claiming to be from Marriott increased in the US dramatically in 2020, reaching a peak of seven million a month.

“Marriott has undertaken this federal lawsuit against illegal robocalls primarily to protect our customers, but also to protect our brand name and intellectual property,” said Stephanie Linnartz, president, Marriott International.

“Marriott’s fight will not stop with the filing of today’s complaint– we will continue to consider and leverage all tools at our disposal to identify and bring to justice the bad actors behind these illegal and fraudulent robocalls.”

Marriott is working with two leaders in the fight against robocalls, the Industry Traceback Group (ITG) and YouMail, Inc.

Marriott leveraged the capabilities of two industry leaders in the fight against illegal robocalls: the Industry Traceback Group (ITG) and YouMail, Inc. to trace the source of the calls and track the perpetrator’s activity.

On December 3, 2020, Marriott said in a statement that it was aware of robocalls that fraudulently reference Marriott’s name to entice the call recipient to listen to a sales pitch.

“Marriott is not making or authorizing these calls,” the hotel giant said.

“Marriott is committed to protecting the privacy of the personal information that is entrusted to us and has not provided any information to the parties making these fraudulent calls.

“If you receive a suspicious robocall referencing Marriott, we urge you not to provide any personal or credit card information and to end the call.”

In addition to the lawsuit, Marriott has provided information about the ongoing scam to the Federal Trade Commission and made clear that the Company will work with regulators in their efforts to stop these illegal robocalls.

Image: iStock/Bill Oxford

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