Saturday, December 29, 2007

Hotel keycards (Warning!)

I did not realize that hotel room keycards contained so much information.
Sounds like a good advice. I am sure I won't leave my key card anymore.You
Know how when you check out of a hotel that uses the credit-card-type room
Key, the clerk often will ask you to return your key(s)...or to drop in a
Box or slot at the Reception counter?

It's good for the hotel because they save money by re-using those cards.
But,it is not good for you, as revealed below by the California Bureau of
Investigation:

Southern California law enforcement professionals assigned to detect new
Threats to personal security issues, recently discovered what type of
Information is embedded in the credit card type hotel room keys used
Throughout the industry. Although room keys differ from hotel to hotel, a
Key obtained from a wellknown hotel chain that was being used for a
Regional Identity Theft Presentation was found to contain the following the
Information:

A..Customers (your) name
B..Customers partial home address
C..Hotel room number
D..Check in date and check out date
E..Customer's (your) credit card number and expiry date!

When you return them at the front desk your personal information remain
There for any employee to access by simply scanning the card in the hotel
Scanner. An employee can take a handfull of cards home and using a scanning
Device, access the information onto a laptop computer and go shopping at
Your expense.

Simply put, hotels do not erase the information on these cards until an
Employee re-issues the card to the next hotel guest. At that time, the new
Guest's' information is electronically "overwritten" on the card the
Previous guest's information.

But until the card is reused for the next guest, it usually is kept in a
Drawer the front desk with YOUR INFORMATION ON IT!!!!

The bottom line is: Keep the cards, take them home with you, or destroy
Them. NEVER leave them behind in the room or room wastebasket, and NEVER
Turn them in at the front desk when you check out of a room. They will not
Charge you for the card (it's illegal) and you'll be sure you are not
Leaving a lot of valuable personal information on it that could be easily
Lifted off with any simple scanning device card reader. For the same
Reason, if you arrive at the airport and discover you still have the card
Key in your pocket, do not toss it in an airport trash basket. Take it home
And destroy it by cutting it up, especially through the electronic
Information strip!
Information courtesy of: Pasadena Police Department

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