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Identity Theft in the Hospitality Amy Nguyen Diploma in Hotel and Tourism Management HTMI Switzerland Introduction Technology, which changes and updates incessantly is one of the fastest growing industries. It has enormous impact to the global industries. Hotels, resorts and hospitality industry are a part of these; they are increasingly issuing and applying high technology. For example, most of the hotels system use computers to record their data information instead of writing on paper; reservation, check-in and checkout procedure are also done by Fidelio system. However, everything has its good and bad side to its character. Why and how technologies become issue and threat in hospitality industry? Hospitality industry’s security is not only a concern but also data security is becoming a serious issue. Hackers and clever programmers with technical proficient knowledge try to discover and break through weak points of the security system (Federal trade commission 2006). In many ways, the hacker attempts to attack data center of hotels or resorts to access guest’s information, which includes customers’ names, addresses, credit card or debit card numbers and the expiration date on the cards (Korallus 2009). Identity Theft and its Effect According to Metzger (2009) and Greenberg (2010), the hospitality industry is one of the most favorites industries for the hackers and 2009 became the flavor year for cybercrime, not only in resorts and hotels but also in restaurants. Following the Associated Press, they brought to an end of the report: “Restaurants are among the most common targets for hackers, experts said, because they often fail to update their antivirus software and other computer security systems.” (Walsh 2009). As a result, the majority of stolen card information in the hospitality industry is 38% when compared with the other industries such as financial services 19%, retail 14,2%, food and beverage 13%, and the rest 15.8%. It is total up 8.4 million people that became victims in 2007 and the number was increased to 9.9 million victims in 2008. It is estimated that every four seconds one person becomes the victim of this crime (Kim 2009). Losing guests’ data is very big issue that the hospitality industry has to face at the present. It was reported and published on February 2010 from ABC News American Information Network, in 2009 the Radisson hotels & resorts in North American and more than 37 Wyndham hotels and resorts branded in USA were attacked and lost all guest’s credit card information. Their entire computer system had been infiltrated and the hackers can access the hotel information system from outside by going though network connection (Greenberg 2010). Stakeholders and Preventative Measures The first victim is the hotel is the lost guests’ information. They are losing guests’ loyalty, damaging their own reputation. Moreover, they are gradually losing their business or even bringing them to legal proceedings. A typical example is the Wyndham and Radisson hotels and resorts branded, they are suffered the heavy losses in both of money and reputation. They have to apologize to hotel’s guests by writing an open letter, coordinated with government in investigating, and compensating for financial damage to their guests for this period of time (Korallus 2009; Hotchkins 2010). At present, their guests are afraid of the hotel’s security system although the hotel had been already improved the system and prevented the attack. The second victim is the guest who has lost their private information and money. The last but not least is the hospitality industry; it is losing guest’s satisfaction and the hospitality reputation. Hospitality businesses are learning the value and power of mobility technologies and IT automation. Heightening staff’ vigilance and preventing every danger that can happen related to data and information systems. For instance, when the staffs download or open unknown attachments, the system might install the virus transfer from hacker. After that identity theft have chance to attack the computer system, spread viruses, and access the sensitive information. In addition, the network and computer systems should regular update, remove or limit using the backward systems, which create opportunities for increasing cybercrime. Another important thing is the discarded data, which sometimes contains personal documents, is normally in a stage of neglect by the individual and business. It create the great opportunities for identity theft who is looking for and finding the valuable information in the garbage, so the business should shred the document before throwing it away ( Biegelman 2008, p.31). Theoretical Implications Figure 1: Javelin’s Prevention, Detection and Resolution Model (Javelin 2009) The identity fraud survey report that published by Javelin (2009) invented a model with the name “Javelin’s prevention, detection and resolution model” (Figure 1 above) to strengthen and bring out the meaning of this situation. It proven methods against the identity thefts and show ways how to prevent, detect and resolute. Prevention: The hotel should stop identity theft at the source material; prevent unknown material harm to the data system. This method helps to prevent and thwart the criminal’s use of the data. Detection: It will be discovered by occurring problems through monitoring systems, guests’ warning, account monitoring, reviewing credit reports for recognizing unusual activities. Resolution: After the identity theft has occurred; guests and providers restore the accounts and creditworthiness by using these services and tools (Biegelman 2008; Javelin 2009). Conclusion In conclusion, high technology is a fast developing field. Beside, numbers of people use credit and debit card occupies almost big part in the society. Following with is the security lacking in the hospitality industry, it creates the opportunities for hackers to attach system breaches and steal guest’s information by plenty of ways. It becomes a big lesson from technology security to the hospitality industry. They should find the best solution to reduce this issue by detecting, preventing and resolving the problems (Federal trade commission 2006). Recommendation In fact, identity theft is becoming enormous threat not only to the hospitality industry but also to each of us. We should be careful with any of our information cards, especially is the credit and debit card because there are numbers of people is stolen cards are increasing rapidly in 2009. One of my advices is limiting reveal the private information when you come and stay in the hotel or any accommodation; it is better if you pay them by cash. . If the number of identity theft is still going up like this, in the future the hospitality will have danger losing a huge number of guests. Reference List Biegelman, M. 2008. Identity Theft handbook Detection, prevention and security. [online book] Available from: http://books.google.com/ [Accessed May 10 2010] Federal trade commission. 2006. Take charge: Fighting back against Identity Theft. [online] Available from: http://www.ftc.gov/ [Accessed May 10 2010] Greenberg, A. 2010. Credit card data stolen at hotels, resorts. [online] Available from: http://abcnews.go.com/ [Accessed May 8 2010] Higgins, K.J. 2010. Hospitality Industry hit hardest by hacks. [online] Available from: http://www.darkreading.com/. [Accessed May 5 2010] Hotchkins, K. 2010. Open letter to our customers. [online] Available from: http://www.wyndhamworldwide.com/ [Accessed May 10 2010 Javellin. 2009. Identity Fraud survey report. [online] Available from: http://www.bankinfosecurity.com/ [Accessed May 10 2010] Kim, R. 2009. Identity Fraud survey report. [online] Available from: http://www.bankinfosecurity.com/ [Accessed May 8 2010] Korallus, F. 2009. Open letter to Radisson guests. [online] Available from: http://www.radisson.com/ [Accessed May 10 2010] Metzger, T. 2010. Hotels a hot spot for credit card fraud. [online] Available from: http://www.creditcards.com/. [Accessed May 5 2010] Walsh, L.2009. The weak link in identity theft. [online] Available from: http://blogs.channelinsider.com/. [Accessed May 7 2010]
"Identity Theft in the hospitality"