Hotel Restaurants Top Credit Card Hackers' Hotspots
Threats from hotel valet parking services elevated from dings on bumpers to dings on credit reports, after a major Los Angeles landmark revealed that its own front driveway was the epicenter of a massive identity theft operation. Representatives from The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites told reporters this month that credit card terminals at its valet parking operation and at four of its on-property restaurants had been affected by a possible data security breach.

The hotel's operators warned guests and diners who visited the property between April and December 2009 to check their credit card statements and credit reports for suspicious activity. No Westin staff have been connected to the data breach, and the hotel's main guest information database was unaffected. Security experts interviewed by USA Today noted that hotels and restaurants have become popular targets for cyber-criminals.

Restaurants and service operations often fail to install routine security upgrades on unattended point-of-sale devices, according to experts. Using a dedicated business expense or travel credit card can prevent the frustration caused by flagging a compromised personal card.

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Joe Taylor Jr. is an internal business consultant for a Fortune 500 company, who writes about finance, culture, and design. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Ithaca College.