Hotel Card Skimming

GoBear also reports on the increasing use of skimmers at some hotels.

 You hand over your credit card to pay a bill and, in addition to running it through the hotel card reader, the employee also passes it through a small pocket device, which reads and stores all your card information.

 This may also happen during a room service visit or in the hotel bar. The waiter says he can't accept cash, so you hand over your card.

 To perform the skim, the waiter will try to get out of your sight for a few seconds. And it's likely he won't use your card details himself but sell it to ID theft dealers.

 So, you may not discover you've been scammed until quite a while after your trip, and then you won't know where the theft of your card details took place.

 Action: Hotel card skimming has been reported from hotels in the U.S. as well as abroad. You can read about some of them on the travel site TripAdvisor.com. The key is to try to keep your card in your sight at all times.

 If you feel uneasy, you have to insist to the waiter that the card remains in your sight. If you can't do that, make sure you know the employee's name for a future investigation. Asking him will actually be quite a powerful deterrent to ID theft.

 Another defense some people use is to have a credit card with a very low credit limit. In some cases, you can actually limit the amount per transaction on the card.

 Skimmers have also been discovered in ATMs inside hotels, so be on the alert. Check the card slot to see if it has an addition -- and cover the keypad with one hand as you key in your PIN to avoid this being spotted by a hidden camera