It has just been disclosed by the Trump Hotel Collection, which includes hotels in Chicago, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami and New York that its hotels had been hit with a Target-like credit card and debit card data breach that appears to have occurred between May 19, 2014 and June 2, 2015. Although the Trump Hotel Collection is just announcing this now and much of the media is reporting this as a new story, here at Scamicide, we reported to you about this data breach in our Scam of the day on July 5, 2015. As with so many data breaches, it was discovered not by the company hacked, but by credit and debit card processing banks that noticed a pattern of fraudulent use and traced the cards back to the Trump hotels. The malware used to perform this data breach was installed on computers at Trump hotels front desk terminals as well as as payment card terminals in the hotels’ restaurants and gift shops. This type of hacking and data breach could have been prevented had the Trump Hotel Collection switched to the modern EMV smart chip credit cards now being required to be used according to credit card regulations that just went to effect yesterday. Instead the Trump Hotel Collection, as many companies still do, used the old fashioned credit and debit cards with magnetic strips which are so susceptible to hacking.
If you used your credit and debit card at one of the affected Trump hotels between May 19, 2014 and June 2, 2015, you should obtain your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies and look for indications of identity theft. You should also carefully monitor your credit card account and bank accounts for unusual activity. You should also consider putting a credit freeze on your credit reports, which is always a good idea. The Trump Hotel Collection is offering free credit monitoring for people who used their cards at their hotels during the time period indicated above. For more information about this offer, call them at 877-803-8586. Here also is a link to the statement of the Trump Hotel Collection about this data breach. https://www.trumphotelcollection.com/cc-security-faq
As for the rest of us, there is little that we as credit and debit card users can do to protect ourselves from the security vulnerabilities of the companies with which we do business. One important thing to do is to refrain from using your debit card except at ATMs. Using your debit card at retail establishments puts you at a much greater risk of expensive identity theft in the event of a data breach at the company with which you are doing business because of weaker consumer protection laws regarding liability for fraudulent use of your debit card. Also, if you have not yet received a new EMV smart chip credit card from your credit card company, you should ask your credit card company for a replacement credit card with a computer chip now.