Prank Calls at the Motel 6

Something really odd just happened. I awoke to the phone ringing in my hotel room at about 10:15-ish. On the other end was somebody claiming to be from the hotel’s front desk and saying something about getting complaints about “loud parties in my room” or some such. I went silent on the line and just waited, and after a couple of “hellos?” they hung up.

I immediately knew it wasn’t the front desk. First off, the call audio was obviously not local.. even through this motel’s crappy PBX I could tell it was likely long distance, and even had telltale signs of Skype jitter in the audio. Secondly, I’ve stayed here long enough to have met all the front desk staff: they’re all old geezers, and this caller’s voice sounded like a juvenile punk kid. It also sounded vaguely.. familiar.

I sure wish I wasn’t asleep when the call came in. I now suspect it was the children at Madhouse Live.  It sounded like them, anyway.

OK, haha, very funny.  How droll.  And then I realized something that kinda creeps me out a little bit: they used my first name during the call.

Wait. How did they know my first name?

I walked to the front desk and had a brief conversation with the (old) man.  Turns out that our fun-loving telephone r0dent social engineered the front desk into releasing the name of the person in room 1xx using some story about somebody being ill.  Wonderful.  I informed the guy that we’d just been had, and went back to my room.

After sitting here for a few minutes, I now feel a little uneasy.  One of the downsides to having a unique first name is that it’s pretty easy to find me.  There is only one person with my first name: me.  Doing a simple Google search on only my first name gives you Everything You Ever Need To Know.  (Yeah, I’m aware that by posting this very article I’m making it worse..)

I’m fortunate: the caller could have been a phisher working a scam and not just out for a Fiber-Optic Joyride.  I also plan on making sure the hotel gets a little bit of an education on this and doesn’t fall for this flim-flammery in the future.

Oh, and a big apology to Madhouse Live (assuming that was in fact you) I didn’t provide a better show.  I was asleep.  Give me a little warning next time and you’d have had something legendary.  I could have slipped in to my “Big Dick” Stetson voice and gone all shit-howdy hick postal on you (which is probably what you expected when you called a budget motel in rural Oregon anyway, not some half-awake blogger geek).

Anyway, I’m going back to bed.  With the ringer on the phone switched to OFF.

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