Travel Safety for Women: Hotel Room Key Cards Can Be A Threat

Most of us have been issued and used a credit card type hotel room key when traveling. During checkout, the clerk will often ask if you have your key(s) to turn in or the hotel has a box or slot near the reception counter to drop them off. It saves the hotel a few cents being able to reuse the cards. No big deal, right? Maybe not for the hotel but the situation presents a real threat to your personal security.

Recently, Southern California law enforcement professionals assigned to detect new threats to personal security discovered what type of information is embedded in the credit card type of hotel room keys used throughout the industry. While the information recorded varies from hotel to hotel, the law enforcement officials found room entry cards containing the following information:


  • Customer’s (your) name
  • Customer’s partial address
  • Hotel room number
  • Check-in and check out date
  • Customer’s (your) credit card number and expiration date! 분당룸싸롱


Generally, hotels do not erase your information on these room entry cards until an employee re-issues the card to the next guest and overwrites your information. This is what the hotels mean by recycling when you read “Please turn in your hotel key cards as we recycle them.” Depending on a specific hotel’s procedures, any number of individuals could have access to the room entry card before your information is overwritten. A simple scanning device can pull your information off these cards-allowing someone to go shopping at your expense or worse.

Bottom line: keep your hotel entry card, take it home and then destroy it. Cutting the card up is the best method, being sure to cut the electronic information strip. Dropping a room entry card the trash whole is not a safe method-credit card and identity thieves have no problems rummaging through trash. Never leave room entry keys in your hotel room and don’t turn them into the front desk when you check out. Legally, the hotel cannot charge for the room card and you won’t be leaving behind valuable personal information that can be easily lifted with a card scanning device.


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