Here’s yet another reason to check your credit card statements each month for fraudulent charges.
Hyatt Hotels is asking past guests to review their payment card statements for possible fraud after it found malicious software in its payment processing systems.
Malware in payment processing systems can allow hackers to steal credit card numbers and other sensitive personal information.
What consumers should know about the breach
The Chicago-based Hyatt group has 627 properties in its portfolio, although it said only the 318 it managed directly were affected by the malware, with franchised hotels unaffected.
While Hyatt hasn’t released many details about the breach yet, the company has said its ‘taken steps to strengthen the security of its systems, and customers can feel confident using payment cards at Hyatt hotels worldwide.‘
For more information as it becomes available, visit Hyatt.com/ProtectingOurCustomers.
Hyatt is not the first hotel group to admit it has had to tackle such a cybersecurity breach.
The Hilton, Mandarin Oriental, Starwood and Trump Collection hotel groups have also faced security problems with customer payment information in 2015.
How to protect yourself from hackers
To avoid falling victim to breaches like this one, and any other type of data attack, here are a few tips to protect you and your wallet:
Check your bank statements daily: This not only allows you to keep up with your purchases and current balance, but also allows you to check for any transactions that don’t look familiar. Here’s more on why you should be checking every day.
Never pay with a debit card: Credit cards offer much more protection than debit cards. If your debit card information is stolen, and in result, your checking account is emptied, you could end up out of luck and never see that money again. Here’s more on the hidden dangers of debit cards.
Frequently monitor and/or freeze your credit: A great way to avoid identity theft is to use services that monitor and secure your credit. But don’t use companies that require huge fees, because they’re often over-hyped and you can get the same services for free or at a much cheaper price. Credit monitoring essentially puts fraud alerts on your credit files with the three main credit bureaus. These alerts are meant to raise a flag to potential creditors, alerting them to carefully verify an applicant’s identity before extending credit. You can get free credit monitoring through CreditKarma.com. An even safer option is to do a credit freeze. A credit freeze allows you to seal your credit reports so no new applications for credit can be initiated in your name without your knowledge. When you do a credit freeze with the three main credit bureaus, you get a PIN that only you know. Freezing your credit files has no impact whatsoever on your existing lines of credit, such as credit cards. You can continue to use them as you regularly would even when your credit is frozen. Here’s more on how and why you should freeze your credit.
Read more: The #1 mistake people make at hotel checkout
For more money-saving travel advice, see our Travel section.