How a Hotel Data Breach Can Affect You
The hospitality and travel industry are the largest industry in the world as billions of dollars are spent every year by companies and individuals as they take vacations and business trips. The hospitality industry has grown considerably since the addition of online reservation options, and so has identity theft. Hospitality venues host a large amount of information in their databases. From personal information of thousands of guests each year to employee information, a hotel database covers it all, making it a perfect target for criminals.
Hotels have become a hot target for criminals looking for a quick score or an identity to use. Names, addresses, email addresses, financial data and more can be found in a hotel database. Many even have reward options which cover a more extensive amount of personal information which is ripe for the picking if a hotel data base is breached. Most travelers have no idea how a hotel database breach can affect them. Below is more information on how a breach can affect you and what you can do to maintain your identity.
A data breach is when an outside source gains access to a company’s data base, in this case, a hotel chain. The breach will give the outside source access to all the information listed in the database. This means that credit card information is accessed which gives the criminal the ability to charge your credit card if they so choose. A data breach at a hotel has been known to happen and is usually done by a hacker intrusion. When this happens the hotel must take certain precautions to protect their customers as well as themselves.
In most states, the hotel is required to contact anyone who could potentially be impacted by the breach. This gives the customer the option to cut off their credit cards, notify their banks, etc. and potentially head off any access to their accounts. If the information allows a criminal to access a customer’s personal account then the hotel can be liable. Businesses are supposed to state their security procedures, so you are well aware of what you are getting into.
What You Can Do To Prevent Breach of Your Information
There are a few steps you can take to prevent a breach of your information. One is to use banks that monitor your purchase history. This way, if your information is gathered by a criminal, they will catch any suspicious activity. Since most people secure a reservation with a credit card, this is a smart action to take. You can also use the same card every time you check into a hotel. This will avoid more than one card or account being accessed if a breach takes place.
If you feel lucky, you can just show up at a hotel and pay cash. However, they will most likely ask for a credit card to put on file for any damages or charges that may incur during your stay. This can still put your information at risk, so find out the procedures and see if an option is available for you to feel more secure.
It is also crucial to be aware of online security measures. We all use the internet access available at our hotel. It is also necessary to make sure that this option is secure as well. It is best to use only a verified secure connection and still is safer to stay away from websites with your personal information or those that require passwords to enter.
A breach of data at a hotel can and will happen. It is best for you to understand what happens in this instance and how best to go about handling your accounts so that your identity cannot be stolen. Speak with your bank and credit card providers on a regular basis to ensure that you are covered if an instance like this was to occur.
By Michelle Patterson
Michelle is a Marketer and Writer for the new start up company GuestDoor