Credit card breaches have been on the news lot lately in the US due to the huge leakage of card numbers with retailers such as target.
Now, it seems that the hotels are not spared either. White Lodging (access their website here) that manages 168 Marriott, Hilton and Starwood affiliate hotels in all over the United States has had its systems breached.
You can read more about this on KrebsonSecurity website here.
According to Krebs, the credit card numbers that have been breached are from restaurant and gift shop purchases at the hotel and not from the PMS (Property Management System) used to settling of hotel folios.
Marriott has released the following statement:
One of our franchise management companies has experienced unusual fraud patterns in connection with its systems that process credit card transactions at a number of hotels across a range of brands, including some Marriott-branded hotels. They are in the midst of the investigation and are in close contact with the banks and credit cards companies.
We are working closely with the franchise management company as they investigate the matter. Because the suspected breach did not impact any systems that Marriott owns or controls, we do not have additional information to provide. Since this impacts customers of Marriott properties, we want to provide assurance that Marriott has a long-standing commitment to protect the privacy of the personal information that our guests entrust to us, and we will continue to monitor the situation closely.
When I saw the breaches of credit card information with the US retailers, I was wondering, when something like this will happen in the travel sector, where most of the transactions between the providers and users are settled using credit cards.
It seems that the breach has not penetrated the PMS systems that the hotels use to settle guest folios, but rather the terminals that have been used to settle gift shop and restaurant purchases.
So, if you have been any of the hotels managed by White Lodging and have used your credit card for else than just settling your folio, check your account statements carefully for any extra charges.