A reader emailed us this week to ask if there are any news about possible fraud concerning gift cards issued for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts.
It appears that a certain amount of circulating gift cards have been redeemed without the authorization of the actual owner.
This could mean that the gift card database has been compromised in a certain way that makes it possible to skim off the relevant numbers.
Here is the email we received:
Hi, I bought a giftcard from Hyatt during a sale and tried to use it last week only to find someone redeemed it already. Have you heard anything about it? I also read about similar fraud cases on Flyertalk.
The reader was referring to a thread on Flyertalk (access here) where similar matters are being discussed.
Many participants report issues they encountered while trying to use their Hyatt gift card during the past few weeks/months where gift card holders found their balance completely depleted.
There are only limited options of what could be happening here:
- Fraud – Someone figured out how to clear the cards out by accessing the Hyatt database.
- The vendor has IT issues (unlikely because some of those effected purchased from Hyatt).
- IT issues on Hyatt’s side (actually that wouldn’t surprise me considering Hyatt’s IT track record)
More than likely it will come down to option one and someone is systematically clearing out gift cards whose value is saved in the central database.
It has been reported in the FT thread that Hyatt replaced the depleted gift cards if it can be proven that there was some sort of an error.
Should you currently have Hyatt Gift Cards in your possession you should check the balance just to make sure there is no foul play involved. Hyatt disabled the online check function for their gift cards and you will have to call in and check on your balance.