Last updated: 01:37 PM ET, Thu September 01 2016

Hotel Guests Should Be Vigilant in Wake of Kimpton Payment Card Data Breach

Hotel & Resort | Patrick Clarke | September 01, 2016

Hotel Guests Should Be Vigilant in Wake of Kimpton Payment Card Data Breach

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock.  

More than one month after announcing an investigation into a potential payment card breach, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants confirmed Wednesday that its efforts uncovered malware that had been installed on payment card processing servers at some of its restaurants and hotel front desks.

The latest in a long list of troubling malware attacks on the hospitality industry, Kimpton's breach should serve as yet another reminder to hotel guests to be vigilant when it comes to combing through their card statements after a trip.

The InterContinental Hotels Group brand said it first received a report of unauthorized charges showing up on guests' cards back on July 15, 2016 and that the malware uncovered through the investigation was able to access customers' card number, expiration date and internal verification code. In a limited number of cases it was also able to obtain the cardholder name.  

Kimpton noted that affected cards had been used at select restaurants and hotel front desks between February 16, 2016 and July 7, 2016. 

The company has since eliminated the malware.

"We have resolved the issue and continue to work with the cyber security firms to further strengthen our existing security measures," Kimpton said in a statement issued Wednesday. "We notified law enforcement and are also working with the payment card networks so that the banks that issue payment cards can be made aware and initiate heightened monitoring on the affected cards."

READ MORE: HEI Reports Payment Card Breach at 20 US Hotels

The San Francisco-based collection of hotels and restaurants revealed that the breach affected dozens of hotels and restaurants around the country. A complete list of the impacted properties can be found here. 

Cybercriminals typically steal card data by planting malware on the point-of-sale systems of a particular company, including hotel chains.

Given the slew of recent payment card data breaches at various hotel chains, including Hilton Worldwide, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Hyatt Hotels, travelers are encouraged to always maintain a close eye on their card statements and to report any fraudulent activity. 

As points out, it's better to use a credit card instead of debit card when possible to avoid secondary problems brought on by fraud such as bounced checks.

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