As the travel season heats up, Consumer Reports cautions.
some popular hotel and motel chains could be vulnerable
News 8's Martha Koloski has more on what that means
Some hotel data security systems may not conform to
a standard that credit card companies require.
In today's On Your Side.
Here's some advice before you swipe that credit or
debit card for an overnight stay.
When you arrive at a hotel and hand over your plastic,
you assume there are stringent safeguards in place
to protect your information.
The major credit-card companies require businesses
to have standard data protections if they want to
accept credit and debit cards.
It's called being PCI compliant.
But we found that a number of hotels may not be."
At this Super 8 motel in New York, the manager
said he "had not heard" about PCI compliance.
An assistant general manager at a Red Lion in California
also said "I never heard of this." Similarly a manager
at an America's Best Value in Washington state said,
"I have no idea" about PCI compliance.
Margot Gilman "In the past, hackers have taken advantage
of weak security at hotels.
For instance there were three documented data breaches
at properties of Wyndham Worldwide several years ago."
According to a complaint by the Federal Trade Commission,
"security failures" at Wyndham Worldwide led to more
than 10 million dollars in unauthorized charges.
Wyndham Worldwide and its subsidiaries have many brands
including the Super 8 chain.
In an email to Consumer Reports, a Wyndham spokesman
said that each Super 8 is "independently owned and
operated" and is "separately required to be PCI compliant."
However, a spokesperson for Super 8 owners disagrees,
saying "Wyndham is responsible for PCI compliance."
So how can you find out if the hotel you're considering
has the kind of security that credit card companies
require? Margot Gilman "There is no substitute
for doing your own research.
Call any hotel or motel you are considering and ask
if they are PCI compliant." Consumer Reports also
says it's worth checking a website called Privacy
Atlas that tracks security standards at 39-thousand
hotels in the U.S.
I'm Martha Koloski and that's today's On Your Side.
If you have any doubt about the data security of the
hotel you have chosen, Consumer Reports advises using
your credit card to pay and not your debit card.
Credit cards have much better protection in case of