Posted Wednesday, September 01, 2010 in
I just found out I have been perpetuating false information for the last few years. It’s about hotel key cards.
Those hotel key cards don’t have our personal information encoded in them. I was told they did and that this information could fall into the hands of thieves. Even though I had a nagging question about why the hotel would do that, I continued to spread the untruth.
Today I was on Snopes.com and got the whole scoop. The story originated in 2003 in California with a police detective who misunderstood something she had heard.
Snopes states that hotels have no practical reason to put your credit card information on your hotel key card. Hotels have secure data bases for such information. What’s encoded is: the room number, access code, activation and expiration dates.
What about hotel key cards that allow you to use them as credit cards? These cards aren’t really credit cards. The card simply has a flag in it indicating that the guest has a credit card on file with the resort or cruise ship. So, when you check out of the resort or the cruise is over, your purchases are added to your credit card bill.
If you do take the hotel key card home with you, be sure and destroy it. Thieves can’t get any information about you from the key card but they do load it with a credit card number --- which they have accessed illegally from another source.
Hotel key cards are the same size as credit and debits cards. Loaded with stolen credit card numbers, thieves use the key cards as credit/debit cards at ATMs and when a sales clerk isn’t monitoring the transaction.
The bottom line is to not worry that a hotel key card has your credit card number on it. They don’t. Just leave the card with the hotel when you check out.
What myths have you heard that are being perpetuated as truths?