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Key Card Identity Myth
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Key Card Identity Theft

Cardjett: Our Hotel key cards meet the industry standard. The key cards that hotel industries use are secured.

On the internet there is an ongoing rumor and some Computer World's Blogs that are claiming that you can be the victim of identity theft if you loose or leave behind your Magnetic Stripe Hotel Key Card.

Hotels and resorts are increasingly issuing plastic "key cards" to guests instead of traditional metal keys for use in opening the doors to guest rooms. That's increased security for guests since metal keys could be easily duplicated and most of them had the number of the room stamped on them making it easy for a stolen or lost key to be used for entry. The key cards do not have any visible indication of what room they open. They also have a magnetic strip on the back that can be programmed, for example, with the dates that the guest is going to use the room so that the key cannot be used after that unless it is programmed with fresh information.

Do hotel key cards have guests' personal information on them?

The results of surveys of several major hotels in California, Nevada, and Florida were emphatic: No hotel key cards have any personal information on them, not even the guest's name.

There are some hotels, such as the Hard Rock and Portfolio Hotels in Orlando, Florida, that have allow key cards to be used for purchases, but there is no identifying information on the key card. The purchases are billed to the room number and added to the guests hotel charges.

One fraud detective said the Rumor may have been prompted by a police case from Southern California where investigators broke up a group of foreign credit card crooks. They had a large number of stolen key cards from a particular hotel. The police decided to scan them to see what was on them and they found credit card debit card numbers, not hotel room information. The reason, according to the detective, is that the crooks can use a credit card scanning device to steal credit and debit card information, program it on to a hotel key card and use it just like the original card. He said that there was a case in Fresno where a member of a foreign credit card fraud gang was an employee at a gas station. He had made a device that would scan customers' credit and debit card info on to a hotel key card at the same time that the card was being used for a purchase.

Key cards are not programmed with personal information and do not have credit card numbers on them.

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