Welcome to the Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine Blog where we keep you up to date with things about cruises that are part of cruise news, useful, interesting and even irrelevant but fun in the world of cruises and cruising.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Hotel Key Cards in Thieves Hands

After you've handed in your key card at the hotel you stayed at the night before your cruise began, and while your'e happily watching the shore slip away and the great sense of euphoria build as you head out the harbour and out to sea – are you ever possibly thinking that maybe handing in the room key card as not such good idea?

If you are thinking that - you're right.  Never return the room card.

That room card is simply an open book supply of information, from your home address to your credit card number and expiration date.

Which means that while you're sailing out into the middle of the ocean, someone at that departure port town is going out on a major shopping spree - using your card - and getting away with it.

And in case you think we're being just a little too cautious, it is actually a fact that some hotel employees in the past have managed to take a hand full of cards home and using a scanning device, access the information on a laptop computer and go on a wild shopping spree.

The information they need to empty your credit card accounts is all too easily accessible.

Yes, times have changed, and some of the newer hotels have more secure systems than before but the dangers of theft using your credit card are not unheard of.

The information they need to empty your credit card accounts is all too easily accessible.

Simply put, hotels do not erase the information on these cards until an employee reissues the card to the next hotel guest. At that time, the new guest's information is electronically 'overwritten' on the card and the previous guest's information is erased in the overwriting process.

But until the card is rewritten for the next guest, it usually is kept in a drawer at the front desk with YOUR INFORMATION ON IT and within easy access of a number of people.!

The bottom line is: 

1: Keep the room cards, take them home with you, or destroy them. 
2: NEVER leave them behind in the room or room wastebasket, and
3: NEVER turn them into 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.

ANOTHER WORD OF WARNING:  If you have managed to keep a hold of your room card just remember that it's NOT OK to throw it away at the airport garbage bin. Take it home and destroy it by cutting it up, especially through the electronic information strip! 

Here at Prow's Edge we do not like to focus on all the things that could go wrong on a cruise, like theft and more - but the more you are aware of these things the more likely you are to be able really relax and enjoy your cruise vacation

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