Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza hotels suffer data breach


DETROIT – If you stayed at a popular hotel chain last year, you may need to keep a close eye on your credit cards.

Intercontinental Hotels Group, which includes the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza brands, says more than 1,200 of its hotels were infected with malware that stole customer debit/credit card data between September 29th and December 29th of last year.

The hotel chain has not published a complete list of the hotels that were affected, but it's offered a state-by-state lookup page. You can find the affected hotels here.

What To Do If You're Affected

Working with the Better Business Bureau, Help Me Hank has come up with these guidelines to help you protect your credit or debit cards before, or after you suspect you have be affected.

1) Stay calm. Consumers are not liable for fraudulent charges on stolen account numbers.

2) Check with the website of the retailer for the latest information. Type the store name directly into your browser. Do NOT click on a link from an email or social media message.

3) On that note- beware of emails that may come into your inbox, claiming to help you deal with the crisis. Those emails could be fake, hoping you'll click on a dangerous link or share personal information.

4) If your card was compromised, you will likely hear from the bank or card-issuer first. If you have questions, call the customer service number on your card.

5) Consider putting fraud alerts on all your accounts. Check with each bank or financial institution on how to do so. You can usually set a dollar amount that
will spark a fraud warning, if the company sees suspicious activity.

6) Monitor all your financial accounts carefully. If you have computer access, try checking your account weekly. Do not wait for the monthly statement.

7) If you see a fraudulent charge, report it to your bank or credit card issuer immediately so the charge can be reversed and a new card issued.

8) Keep receipts so you can prove which charges are legitimate.

9) Be careful about how often you use your debit card. If you debit card is hacked, thieves will be stealing your money, and debit cards do not have the same protections as credit cards. Make sure you know what kind of protection your account will offer.

10) Consider having a "dirty" credit card. This card would be used for all public transaction and online purchases. Ideally, you can pay it off each month, and
if it's hacked you'll have better protection. Use your debit card for getting cash, and use other credit cards for major purchases.

11) Change your passwords on financial accounts frequently. Also, make sure you create "strong" passwords that will not be easily guessed.

12) When you hear about a date breach, share that information with family and friends, so they can also follow these steps to protect themselves.

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