Staying Vigilant for Your Guests: Hotel Safety, Scam Awareness, and Hacking Defense

No guest wants to feel insecure about the safety of his/her person, belongings, and bank account when staying at a hotel. No hotel owner wants his/her guests to feel this way, either! But the threat exists, and in our world of rapidly advancing technology, it evolves by the day. Hotel owners must take effective, adaptive steps to ensure the safety of guests and their belongings, or else risk a rise of criminal activity in their own establishment.

Your first line of defense should be physical. Even in Las Vegas, where hotels reign supreme and spend millions of dollars on security, hotel room burglaries still occur. Physical burglaries carry the unique pall of potential bodily harm to guests. “It is not just the stuff that is taken,” said Lynn Browder, who experienced a Las Vegas hotel room burglary back in February, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “It is the secure feeling that you should feel when you stay at a hotel, which I have been robbed of.” Earlier this month, halfway across the world,someone stole China Film Group vice president Zhang Qiang’s luggage from his rented apartment at an exclusive beach community in Cannes, France.

Some victims of hotel burglaries suggest inside jobs, and some hotel reps claim the break-ins could have been prevented if the victims engaged deadbolts and other extra security measures. However, other possibilities exist. Authorities in Arizona are currently engaged in a determined manhunt for at least two people who they suspect have used a portable programming device to defeat electronic hotel door locks and stolen valuables from within. These hackers exploit a now-famous weakness in Onity lock systems, using a device that can access a lock’s digital memory and disable it within seconds.

In other cases, potential thieves will attack remotely. Don Farrell of Fresh Revenues recently experienced such an attempt at a hotel room in Seattle. “I’ve read about this before, but this time it happened to me,” Don reports. “My in-room phone rang at my hotel late last night. An incredibly congenial young male apologized profusely for bothering me, and then said the computer system had gone down and the staff was attempting to reload guest data. He asked very politely if he could get some information from me, starting with my name. He was more courteous than ninety percent of the front desk personnel I’ve ever encountered, but my radar went off nonetheless. I said I would come down to the desk and give my info. He replied with a hearty thank you. I then called the front desk, who reported that it wasn’t them and other guests had also been called.”

Hotel owners must make staff aware of such incursions and train them to exercise vigilance at all times. Guests should look out for their own safety and be smart about defending themselves, engaging the deadbolt and security bar on their room door whenever in the room and never giving away info to an unknown person.

Originally published on Tuesday, July 30, 2015
441 views at time of republishing

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