With vacation season right around the corner, many people are making lists of things to pack, organizing activities, prepping for a week at the beach and making last minute reservations at a hotel or resort online. There are now an array of different websites that allow users to search, compare and book hotel stays easily online. In addition, all major hotel chains allow (and most likely prefer) their guests to use their websites to book online. Why would you bother with calling to make a reservation when you can quickly and easily find the best deal online and book in a matter of seconds?
While booking hotels and resorts online may be easy and convenient, it might not be the most secure option. A recent report by Symantec found that the majority of hotel websites are actually leaking customer data. They found that many hotels were failing to encrypt customer data when directing users to manage or make their reservation. This failure to encrypt data leaves your personal information completely susceptible to hackers. In addition to a failure to adequately encrypt customer data on their own websites, hotels use of discount booking sites creates another level of exposure that puts customer data at risk.
How do you protect your data?
This can be an easy or a difficult task depending on how you look at it. The first thing you need to know is that there is no way for the user (like me and you) to really influence hotels’ or booking sites’ internet security or IT practices. Therefore, we have to implement things from our side to protect our own bank accounts and personal information. While these suggestions may sound basic, it could potentially save you a tremendous amount of time and money and ultimately keep your data protected.
The first and easiest change that you can implement is to request a new debit or credit card once a year. Sounds simple but think about how many places you’ve used your card during the past 12 months. That’s a lot of liability. If you change the card number, you reduce the chances of the thieves getting good data vs expired useless information. Another is to see if your bank offers phone alerts through text or an app. Many banks give you the ability to receive a notification via text any time a purchase is made using your card. In most cases, this notification will be anticipated (because you knowingly made a purchase) but in those cases when you’re sitting in your office and not actually in Taiwan buying mass amounts of novelties, you’ll appreciate that notification and be able to act quickly!
Ultimately, keeping your data safe is a multifaceted task. Making simple and easy changes along the way can help you greatly with keeping your card info secure and out of the wrong hands!