A worthy note from the Pasadena Police Department regarding hotel room electronic access cards. Hat tip to Hunter Investigations for providing the info:

HOTEL KEY CARDS

From 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 well known hotel chain that was being used for a regional Identity Theft Presentation was found to contain the following the information:

  1. Customers (your) name
  2. Customers partial home address
  3. Hotel room number
  4. Check in date and check out date
  5. Customer’s (your) credit card number and expiration date!

When you turn the Hotel Key Card in to the front desk your personal information is there for any employee to access by simply scanning the card in the hotel scanner. Hotel employees can take a pocketful 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 the time of check-in, the new guest’s information is electronically “overwritten” on the card and that the previous guest’s information (this means your info) is erased in the overwriting process. But until the card is rewritten for the next guest, the electronic key card is usually kept in a drawer at the front desk with YOUR INFORMATION STILL 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 to the front desk when you check out of a room. They should not charge you for the card (charging for the card is illegal).

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 or shredding the card. Be certain that the electronic information strip has been destroyed!

Information courtesy of: Pasadena Police Department

[tags] Hotel key cards, electronic keys, eoecho.com, eoecho [/tags]