In 2010, hotel databases were the top destination for cybercriminals looking to commit identity theft.
Identity theft typically occurs when crooks steal a consumer's bank account or credit card information and use this data to make fraudulent purchases in the cardholder's name. As a result, hotels – which handle thousands of daily transactions – have been hotspots for this illegal activity.
However, this year, online thieves are putting an increased focus on restaurants, according to a report by USA Today. This may be due to increased security measures taken by Marriott, Hilton and InterContinental Hotels Group to help stem this practice.
Despite these added precautions, consumers can take their own protective measures by checking their credit reports frequently and ensuring information doesn't fall into the wrong hands. For example, consumers should be careful about posting their personal financial information on the Internet or leaving important documents exposed when commuting or shopping.
Consumers who check their reports frequently can often identify these unauthorized purchases. In addition, by contacting a credit repair organization, they may be able to get help investigating and disputing these questionable claims so they can improve their credit.