Hotel Credit Card Hacking
Why Are Hotel Guests More Likely to be Victims of Credit Card Scams?
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Hotels are one of the top dangers facing credit card users this summer.
Studies show that 38 percent of all credit card hacking involves hotels, outnumbering the incidents of credit card fraud that happens in other environments, including restaurants, bars, retail stores and the financial sector. This fact surprises many consumers and makes them wonder if it’s safe to use their credit cards at hotels.
Travelers are most likely to use credit cards to pay for their stay in hotels, making the industry a hot spot for would-be thieves. The sheer volume of credit card data stored on hotel computers, coupled with the likelihood of out-of-date security software (when hotels were hit by the economic downturn, IT professionals were laid off or technology upgrades were placed last on the list of expenses) make hotels a likely target of fraud.
Luxury hotels are often targeted because the credit cards in their databases are more likely to have higher spending limits. These credit card holders also tend to have more activity, so fraudulent activity is more likely to be missed by the cardholder and their credit card issuers.
Protect your cards
Thankfully, there are easy steps you can take to keep your credit card and finances safe when you travel. You will want to follow these practices on a regular basis for a couple of reasons. First, it will become a habit that you automatically complete while on vacation. Second, your credit card data can be stored in a hotel’s computer system for months after your stay; this means that the risk of credit card fraud lasts beyond the duration of your hotel stay.
Reaching beyond the credit cards
Hotels are also cracking down on guests who steal amenities like toiletries, towels, ashtrays and bathrobes. One way they are recouping the losses incurred by these missing items (they cost the industry $100 million annually) is by charging guests credit cards for the missing amenities.
Unfortunately, employees are just as capable as guests when it comes to taking items. Make sure to review your room bills and keep a copy for your records. When you get home, compare the amount on the receipt to the amount charged to your credit card. If there is a discrepancy, call the hotel immediately to ask about the extra charges.
Follow @CreditDonkey or write to Andrew Green at email@example.com
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