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Hotel key cards - is this true (and is it against DPA?)


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Hi all. I received this email. Can anyone clarify if this is the case, and, also, if it is true, I assume it is against DPA?

 

Ever wonder what is on your hotel 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 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!

 

Recommendations;

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 - in UK) 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! You can also use a small magnet and pass it across the magnetic strip several times. Then try it in the door, if it does not work it erases everything on the card.

Abbey - 547.00 settled in full.

Second claim: £204 WON.

Barclaycard - 142.88 incl interest due WON BY DEFAULT as they didn't even bother entering a defence. Barclaycard paid up £184.88.

 

MBNA - Concluded £634.31

Capital One Concluded £148

Kinda disappointed I've no more banks to go after now...

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Think I may have answered my own question:

 

Urban Legends Reference Pages: Hotel Key Identity Theft

Abbey - 547.00 settled in full.

Second claim: £204 WON.

Barclaycard - 142.88 incl interest due WON BY DEFAULT as they didn't even bother entering a defence. Barclaycard paid up £184.88.

 

MBNA - Concluded £634.31

Capital One Concluded £148

Kinda disappointed I've no more banks to go after now...

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Yup - it's what urban legends are made of! I knew it was a 7-digit code that they entered each time, and I was more interested in how they door lock knew they day/date as I was locked out after I extended my stay and had to have the card revalidated. From memory, there was only space for 128Kb of info, so the fact it had loads of stuff about you seemed to strech increduliuty a tad...

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128kb is more than enough room to store all your personal details including naem, address, credit card and bank no.s pasport and drivers details etc - don't believe me then open wordpad and copy a page of info into it and save then look at the size of the file. 1 byte will store 1 letter so 128kb will store 134217728 letters and thats if you don't use careful encoding - if you were smart you would get away with using only 6 out of every 8 bits in a byte to represent all the letters and no.s needed and then could store even more data.

 

Anyway - as you already said its a myth

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There are other overheads required for the management of the lock that take up much of the space available - I've heard this is around 110Kb but it varies by manufacturer. The remaining space couldn;t hold the residual personal data IF it was captured, however the real laugh is that the debate on Passport Chips reveals they are already bursting at the seams with no room for previously promised data!

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Thanks guys!

Abbey - 547.00 settled in full.

Second claim: £204 WON.

Barclaycard - 142.88 incl interest due WON BY DEFAULT as they didn't even bother entering a defence. Barclaycard paid up £184.88.

 

MBNA - Concluded £634.31

Capital One Concluded £148

Kinda disappointed I've no more banks to go after now...

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There are other overheads required for the management of the lock that take up much of the space available - I've heard this is around 110Kb but it varies by manufacturer. The remaining space couldn;t hold the residual personal data IF it was captured, however the real laugh is that the debate on Passport Chips reveals they are already bursting at the seams with no room for previously promised data!

 

18k is still enough to save 331776 characters - more than enough to copy your details. As to needing 110kb for the lock data I doubt this very much, this is far more data than is needed for even the largest of hotels by a factor of 100.

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