Owner of Holiday Inn, Other Brands Investigating Possible Data Breach
The InterContinental Hotels Group owns chains that were affected by small data breaches earlier this year
The parent company of several hotel chains—including Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express—is investigating whether or not customers' payment card data has been stolen, reports Consumerist.
The InterContinental Hotels Group owns several other chains besides the Holiday Inn brands, including Crowne Plaza, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, Hotel Indigo, Even Hotels, and Kimpton. Many Kimpton hotels experienced a credit card breach earlier this year, as did some properties owned by InterContinental but run by HEI Hotels & Resorts.
Brian Krebs, an information security reporter, has been informed by sources within the financial industry that fraudulent transactions have appeared on cards used at InterContinental properties, especially at Holiday Inn.
The company assured consumers that it "takes the protection of payment card data very seriously" and that it knows about the problem.
"We were made aware of a report of unauthorized charges occurring on some payment cards that were recently used at a small number of U.S. -based hotel locations," InterContinental stated. "We immediately launched an investigation, which includes retaining a leading computer security firm to provide us with additional support. We continue to work with the payment card networks."
Consumers who have stayed at one of the properties owned by InterContinental recently are urged to examine their credit and debit card statements closely and to immediately report any suspicious transactions to their bank. If any of these consumers has stayed at one of the affected hotels recently and then received a new card from their bank, this potential breach may be the reason.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to protect yourself from breaches like this, especially when the point of sale systems used by a company are infected with malware. The only foolproof way to prevent a breach is never to buy anything with a card, which is very hard to avoid today. Instead, keep an eye on your bank and card statements, and use a credit card rather than a debit card whenever possible to prevent scammers from emptying your bank account.