This New Year, I plan on visiting my best friend in New York and I want to stay at a hotel on Time Square to be in the middle of all the excitement. What I enjoy about staying in hotels are the amenities such as room service and wake up calls. I also like that you can be a little lazy and not have to worry about picking up after yourself.
However, identity thieves are using hotels as an outlet to steal personal information and credit accounts. Anyone traveling this holiday season should be cautious as to what kinds of personal items are being placed around a hotel room. For instance, I had lunch with a friend recently who told me how one of her relatives fell victim to identity theft during a business trip. Her relative had left her purse, itinerary, and hotel printout on a dresser when she went out for a walk around the city. Upon her return, her room was picked up by housekeeping. Thinking nothing suspicious, she grabbed her purse and went out to dinner.
When she came back home from her trip, she received her monthly billing statement and discovered fraudulent charges. What’s surprising is the hotel she stayed at was a well known one.
Lesson Learned: When staying at a hotel, it’s a good idea to place your personal items such as a laptop, purse, or credit cards in a locked safe if you intend to step out for a few hours. Furthermore, here are some tips to think of if you’re planning to stay at a hotel this holiday season.
1. Don’t throw folios which contain your personal information in a waste basket.
2. Don’t leave your credit card lying on the check-in counter while you complete your registration and make sure the credit card is handed back to you.
3. If the lobby is busy, thieves will take advantage of the distractions so keep a close eye on your luggage, purse, etc when checking in.