4 (Surprisingly) Common Ways Credit Card Fraud Happens at Your Hotel

Credit card fraud is too common.

You’ve heard all the horror stories about credit card fraud; maybe you have lived one yourself. It makes sense because almost half (47%, more specifically) of credit card fraud happens in the United States. It’s not looking up: Research and consulting firm Aite Group estimates U.S. online card fraud will more than double to $6.6 billion from $3.3 billion between 2015 and 2018. Know how to guard yourself by finding out where and how these data thieves work. As Sun Tzu once said, “To know your enemy, you must become your enemy.” So, how would you steal vital information or credit cards if you were a hacker?

Credit card fraud happens to the best of us, so be careful! Especially pay attention to these common attacks:

1. Willy nilly WiFi–Most hotels now offer complimentary WiFi service, but some networks are just virtual playgrounds for data hackers. How to avoid this? Watch out for WiFi connections that pop up with names like “Free Hotel WiFi Service.” Chances are, such sketchy connections signal a hacker who wants to steal your info while you pay bills or shop from your room.

2. Take-out fakes–Scammers disguised as “restaurants” know you have to recite your credit card digits on the phone, and their ears perk up at that opportunity. A quick Google search to make sure the restaurant exists should fix the issue. If it’s a scam, the Internet will probably be quick to inform you, too.

3. Front desk phonies–If you get a call from so-and-so at the front desk, warning you that the computer systems crashed the night before–NEVER buy this excuse. Immediately head to the front desk and ask if there’s anything strange going on with the computers. (Hint: They’re probably running just fine.)

4. Better have my money–Credit card thieves can grab your info when they physically steal your card. Obviously, make sure you don’t leave any handbags, wallets, or loose cards unattended. Most victims of these card burglars find out quickly enough to cancel their accounts before many fraudulent charges ensue. However, if your thief steals your personal or corporate card and has plenty time to run up your bill, October’s new credit card anti-theft system might help you.

This October, credit card companies will take aim against mounting charges by requiring American card carriers to manufacturing chipped cards exclusively. However, these new cards will cost a significant sum–about $8.65 billion– for U.S. card companies. This security measure will only solve the counterfeit card issue, which is a mere percentage of the embezzlement crisis: Reuters recently said that only 37% of card fraud takes place due to counterfeit CCs. Because smarter cards will demand smarter hacking activity, businesses are developing new cybercrime insurance policies in attempt to handle a new wave of scams. In short, the best defense against credit card thieves, whether virtual or actual, is knowledge.

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