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Taking information security while on vacation

Posted 8/30/2011   Updated 8/30/2011 Email story   Print story


Aviano Legal Office Staff Report

8/30/2011 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- In today's networked world, information security does not take a vacation. The Better Business

Bureau recently issued a nationwide alert concerning the latest credit card scam. Instead of trying to steal credit card information through electronic means, criminals are asking their victims directly for it.

According to the BBB, thieves are hacking into hotel phone systems in order to directly call guests' rooms. The calls appear to come from the hotel front desk and the caller states there appears to have been a mistake made at the time of the guest's arrival. The fake "clerk" then asks the guest for credit card information in order to clear the matter up. These bogus calls often are engineered in the middle of the night in an effort to catch travelers when they're not fully alert. The result is that many of these attempts have been quite effective with guests providing sensitive credit card information without thinking about it.

This scam has been reported in cities on the West Coast and in Florida. As the BBB points out, you never should give out personal credit card information to someone who calls you over the phone. Legitimate hotel employees should not be calling travelers and asking for personal information over the phone in the middle of the night.

The best way to avoid having your dream vacation turn into a credit card nightmare is to remember the BBB's warning to never give personal credit card information over the phone to someone you don't personally know. If you should get such a call while traveling, tell the caller you'll discuss the matter with the front desk personally in the morning. This simple step will protect you from any doubt as to the whether the call involves a legitimate problem, or whether it is a scam.

If you should fall victim to this scam because of travel fatigue, you should immediately contact your credit card company and have them cancel the card. In addition, contact the police and let them know there are thieves working this scam in their jurisdiction. These steps will limit your loss and make you a smarter traveler in the future.

If you have any other questions or concerns, contact the Aviano Legal Office at 632-7843.

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