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Source: Southern California
Source Location: FBI Tip Site

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
through-out the industry.

Although room keys differ from hotel to hotel, a key obtained from the "Double Tree" 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 (your) partial home address

c.. Hotel room number

d.. Check in date and check out date

e.. Customers (your) credit card number and expiration date!

When you turn them in to the front desk your personal information is there for any employee to access by simply scanning the card in the hotel scanner.

An employee can take a hand full 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 these cards until an employee issues the card to the next hotel guest. It is usually kept in a drawer at the front desk with YOUR INFORMATION ON IT!!!!

The bottom line is, keep the cards or destroy them! NEVER leave them behind and NEVER turn them in to the front desk when you check out of a room. They will not charge you for the card. 

(Information courtesy of: Sergeant K. Jorge, Detective Sergeant, Pasadena Police Department)


Side Note:  I have personally done this in London.  They didn't even ask about the room card.


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Page added on: 26 March 2004