Common Frauds at Hotel Front Desk & How to Prevent Them

What is a Fraud?

Fraud is an action of someone or an agency with the intention to obtain unauthorized benefits. Putting it simply, fraud is a bad action of someone to gain money or financial benefits through lying or tricking another person.

It is sad to say that fraud does exist in the hospitality industry that involves employees. In this article, I will be showing some examples of common frauds by the hotel front desk staff and how to prevent them to happen.

Scenario 1: Room Key Fraud

Room key fraud at hotel front desk

There is a case where a hotel front desk accepts the walk-in reservation, collects cash for the room charges from the guest then issues a room key but does not record it accordingly so that they can pocket the money. 

How to prevent it? 

This kind of fraud can be prevented if the Hotel PMS integrates with the hotel door lock system. Only reservations marked as "checked-in" can the hotel front desk issue a room key. With this integration, all the room keys that have been issued will be recorded in the system. 

Scenario 2: Complimentary Fraud

complimentary fraud at hotel front desk 

A hotel front desk collects cash from a guest for a two-night stay, however, stated one night as “complimentary” due to some issue and complaint from the guest, then pocketing the money from that one night’s room charge.

How to prevent it? 

This fraud can be controlled by maintaining a log for any comped sales, requiring validation and documentation on the guest complaints, and requiring hotel manager or supervisor approval on all comped. 

Scenario 3: The short ring

The short ring fraud at the hotel front desk

A customer orders an orange juice for RM12, but the employee rings it as RM8 and pockets the difference. 

How to prevent it? 

One of the best methods to prevent short ring fraud is that the hotel needs to use the PMS or POS system that prevents zero-ring sales, or control access of overriding price without the hotel manager or supervisor's approval. 

Scenario 4: Coupon Fraud 

Coupon fraud at the hotel front desk

The hotel places an advertisement featuring a coupon offering an RM10 discount for additional breakfast requests in some seasons. The hotel guest then requests an additional breakfast upon check-in at the front desk counter, without knowing about the discount. The guest makes payment by cash and then receives the breakfast coupon. At the receptionist counter, the hotel front desk took back the RM10 from the total payment by the guest and submits a coupon that the guest obtained. 

How to prevent it? 

The hotel can reduce the risk of coupon fraud by putting it mandatory for the hotel front desk to generate the invoice or receipt and send it to the hotel guest even if they are not requesting it.  By doing this, all the discounts and offers will be traceable in the hotel front office system report. 

What Things to Be Done to Control Fraud at Hotel?

There are actually many more frauds that can happen at the hotel and the list might grow longer if we have to discuss it here. As a hotel business manager or owner, the very first way to prevent this to happen is you have to do a background check before you hire anyone. Then followed by others like the implementation of the correct fraud policies and internal audits. 

Prevention is better than cure. Hence, below are also some recommendations for you to consider to prevent fraud happens at your hotel, not by the hotel front desk only but by anyone at your hotel. 

  1. Maintain registers and surveillance cameras to record the movement of staff where the sales take place. 
  2. Provide a safety locker in the guests’ rooms to secure their valuables.
  3. Preventing hotel staff from carrying a large amount of cash while on duty.


Obviously, employee fraud will affect the hotel's financial performance, tarnish the image and reputation, and impact customer service performance. Adopting technology such as a good PMS system and CCTV will help to mitigate internal fraud at your hotel. 

If you are in the process of hiring new hotel front desk staff and looking for resources for your training purposes, we recommend you download the Ultimate Guide to Hotel Front Desk and share it with them. This e-book includes the Do’s and Don’ts as a professional front desk, phone call scripts, how to handle customer complaints and inquiries, and many more. We hope you find this useful.

You're reading a blog compiled by Softinn. We're a hotel-technology company with the mission to make hotelier work easier. Do subscribe if you enjoy reading our blog or you may interact with us on our Facebook Page.

Products that make it easier to run a hotel

Get Monthly Updates

We won't spam your inbox. We promise to send a curated list of posts to your inbox once a month, nothing more.

Subscribe Now