THE WAFFLEMAN: When You Travel … Watch Your Hotel Key Card!

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Yo! Here we go again with some valuable information for my traveling friends.

Always take a small fridge magnet on your holiday. They come in handy at the end of your trip. You all needed to know this. This is pretty good info about hotel key cards. I never thought about those key cards containing anything other than an access code for the room!

Did you ever wonder what is on your magnetic key card? Answer: A. Customer’s name B. Customer’s partial home address C. Hotel room number D. Check-in date and out dates E. Customer’s 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 handful 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 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 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!

The bottom line is: Keep the cards, take them home with you, or destroy them. Never leave them behind in the room or wastebasket, and never turn them into the front desk when you check out of a room. They will not charge you for the card (it is illegal) and you’ll be sure you are not leaving lot of valuable personal information on it that could be easily lifted off with any simple scanning-device card reader.

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, especially through the electronic information strip!

And if you brought a small magnet with you; pass it across the magnetic strip several times. Then try it in the door; it will not work. It erases everything on the card. Then you can turn it in to the front desk. Please tell all your family and friends.

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