Friday, April 20, 2007

Cutting Up My 7 Year Old Daughter's Credit Cards

My children and I often travel on the weekends. I always request late checkout which means my bill is processed and a copy is then slid under my door between 1:00 AM - 11:00 AM. With this process I can skip the step of going to the front desk to check out. I can also keep the room a few hours past the normal checkout time. I hate to be rushed when I am trying to have a nice time with my family.

Since this is my standard practice each time we stay at a hotel I do not go to the front desk when I am leaving. I never remember to give the key card back. Later on Snow White finds the cards in my purse. She has been putting them in her little purse pretending they are credit cards. I thought this as a way of recycling and not adding more plastic to the landfills.

Poor Snow White. I might have to cut up her credit cards. You don’t really think this will cause trauma having to go through a credit card cutting at such an early age? (Joking)

Many of you may have seen the email below before but just incase here it is…

Subject: Alert Travel Note - Key Cards at Hotels

This note was brought to my attention again. Please take note.

Ever wonder what is on your hotel magnetic key card?


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 hand full 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 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!

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 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.

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!

Information courtesy of: Pasadena Police Department

** I personally have a small magnet and pass it across the magnetic strip several times. Then try it in the door, it will not work. It erases everything on the card

I suppose I wont have to cut up Snow White’s credit cards after all!

Snow White went to a pageant... Yes, I said the horrid "P" word. I will fill you in on the details later.

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