Hotel room key security risks

Often, you’ll stay in a hotel where the reception desk clerk hands you two keycards for your room. While this may seem a magnanimous gesture, it could also spell disaster.

Travel guru Johnny Jet explains:

Often when you check into a hotel, the front desk clerk hands you your key in a sleeve that has your room number written on it. While that’s helpful when you first arrive at the hotel, be sure to remember your hotel room number in your head and don’t keep the key stored in that sleeve.

Why? Well, a high-profile New York woman was dining at a fancy sushi restaurant in L.A. over the weekend of the Academy Awards when someone stole her purse from the back of her chair. Inside her purse was her hotel room key, which was presumably still inside the paper sleeve with her room number on it. What happened next? That’s right! The thief broke into her hotel room and stole $20,000 worth of jewellery. This unfortunate incident is a good reminder for all of us.

First, don’t put your purse on the back of your chair and secondly, don’t store your room key in the sleeve that has your hotel room number written on it. If you must, take a photo of the hotel sleeve or a photo of your room number and store it on your phone. Better still, text yourself your room number with no reference to what the number refers to.

One of Johnny Jet’s readers adds:

“Last week, I had some stuff stolen out of my hotel room. Luckily, it wasn’t valuable, and all was eventually returned. What happened? On check-in, I was given two keycards by the hotel (I prefer not to name the hotel). As usual, when I am traveling alone, I always take one with me and I leave the other keycard in its packet in the room or in the entry slot. Apparently, a disenchanted employee in housekeeping decided to lift the keycard from my room, who in turn gave it to a bad friend. That bad friend then came back later, entered my room without issue and pilfered my stuff. Luckily all my valuables were in the safe. So, the bad employee could not be tracked entering the room at the time of the robbery because it was my keycard that was used. So, my tip is: If you are given two cards, never leave the spare laying around in your room or in the power slot at the front door. Lock it in the safe, or better still, only get one keycard if you are traveling alone.”

Whenever I get two keycards for my room, I keep one in my wallet and one in my pocket. That way if I ever get mugged (touch wood that I don’t), at least I have a spare keycard to get back into my room.

What do you do with your spare keycard?

Related articles:
Hotel room fails
Are hotel keycards a security risk?
Hotel extras you actually need

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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