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Follow up: Hotel Keys Informative - Further information on previous posts.

Review by Doc J on 2006-06-26
RE: Personal info on hotel "credit card" keys.
Recently, in response to a consumer privacy post, I relayed information coming from a police source: Electronic "credit card" keys used at hotels contain encoded credit card and personal information. According to the American Hotel and Lodging Assn., this is an urban myth. The text of the article stating such to be an urban myth appears at www.bankrates.com and was today posted on MSN News.
Detectives at the Pasadena, CA PD initialy reported a single finding where personal info had been encoded on a hotel key. I had seen an overseas hotel security staffer demonstrate that my name, address, and CC# was encoded on a hotel key.
So, it appears that while "some" keys "may" contain "some" personal info, most probably do not. What info recorded on the key is determined by the hotel. Usually, it consists of: guest name, room number, check-in date, and check-out date, and the hotel folio number (which I recently found applied to my case where the hotel used a portion of the CC# as part of the folio#.
My recommendation? Given that guests have no way of knowing what info is/isn't encrypted on their room keys, they should take whatever precautions they are comfortable with taking. Personally, I have no reservations about applying a generous portion of paranoia when it comes to preventing identity theft in today's age.

RE: Litter in Hemel Hempstead, UK
Numerous posts on m3c have been made regarding poor public maintenance and litter in Hemel Hempstead. According to my mate, who lives in HH, this is untrue. He relates, except on county lanes where pranksters engage in "bin tipping", the area is quite tidy. The area once had a reputation for being unkept. However, my source tells me that the situation is much improved from years past. Like the complainant's post, the rebuttal is likewise subjective.
Comments:4 Replies - Latest reply on 2006-06-26
Posted by miketech on 2006-06-26:
Imteresting Doc very interesting.
Posted by Anonymous on 2006-06-26:
Here in a link about this issue:

http://www.snopes.com/crime/warnings/hotelkey.asp
Posted by Doc J on 2006-06-26:
emt-Thanks! Snopes is a personal favorite of mine. I had not reviewed them on this for well over a year. Two things stand out about the Snopes information. An industry exec states personal information "could" be encoded on the keys but assures us "it isn't" ("You can trust us", says a corporate suit). My cynical side says, "Until earlier this month, about 30 million US veterans believed their ID was safely held by the Veteran's Admin." And, the end of the Snopes piece recommends that consumers take card keys with them or destroy them. It seems wise to do so. Again, emt-c, thanks for the additn'l info.
Posted by Anonymous on 2006-06-26:
Doc J, You are welcome! Any time I hear someone say "I saw on the internet the other day...", I check snopes or straight dope. I knew when I read your post, that it sounded familiar.

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