"Identity Theft by Marriott"

 
Old Apr 30, 14, 12:27 am
  #1  
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"Identity Theft by Marriott"

(Note: This is a more general issue, not a hotel review. I will review the hotel in the appropriate thread for this hotel.)

Tonight, when I checked into the Courtyard San Diego Sorrento Mesa/La Jolla, the night desk clerk not only asked for my credit card and driver's license, he swiped the credit card and then insisted on also entering into his computers all the details on my driver's license.

When I asked why, he said it was the law and also could be helpful to the police! He also claimed it was required by all hotels. In fact, I believe that in California, credit card privacy laws actually prohibit saving this information. It's also never happened to me at any other hotel in the USA, including others in San Diego county.

I'm surprised he didn't demand my social security number.

If my card is subsequently misused, do I have a case against these folks for identity theft? Is this really some kind of new Marriott policy?
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Old Apr 30, 14, 1:57 am
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In the U.S., some hotels (such as the majority of those in Las Vegas) request identification from all guests at check-in, regardless of the method of payment. You could be paying in cash and offer a large cash deposit, and they'll still request an ID. AFAIK, the law doesn't prohibit them from asking when it's a condition of staying at the hotel.

I think it's far more likely that the front desk clerk incorrectly claimed (or even outright lied) that it was a legal requirement just to increase compliance of some local policy of that hotel. People are less likely to push back if they believe that it's the law, even when it really isn't.

Personally, I have no issues with having to show an ID on check-in to a hotel, but I'm not sure how I'd feel if (after confirming my identity) the desk clerk started to transcribe information from the ID, because my hotel profile and credit card already provide enough information to uniquely identify me.
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Old Apr 30, 14, 3:11 am
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As a matter of fact, the desk agent was telling the truth.

Taken from a news article:

Similar to ordinances in effect in San Diego, Escondido, Vista and San Marcos, the one considered Tuesday called for hotels to maintain a “register” of those renting rooms, that guests must provide a photo ID and the names of everyone who will be staying in the room, and that the guest must sign the register. It also requires the registration record to be stored for at least three years.
If you ever have misfortune to stay at one of the “scratchy sheet” motels (like a Days Inn or a Motel 6), many will actually photocopy your license.

As to the credit card—you’ve never had yours swiped at check-in? Sometimes, I’m simply asked if I want to “use the card on file”, but I’d estimate that about half the time or more, I’m asked for the physical card. In fact, it’s often my Marriott Rewards Visa card which prompts an underachieving desk agent to look down at his/her screen and awkwardly add “...and we do have your gold elite status on file...”.
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Old Apr 30, 14, 5:20 am
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In Hong Kong and Singapore the hotel I stayed at took copy if all passports for guests in the room. It was not Marriott but IHG hotels including IC Singapore.
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Old Apr 30, 14, 10:04 am
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Originally Posted by briantroutman View Post
As a matter of fact, the desk agent was telling the truth.

Taken from a news article:



If you ever have misfortune to stay at one of the “scratchy sheet” motels (like a Days Inn or a Motel 6), many will actually photocopy your license.

As to the credit card—you’ve never had yours swiped at check-in? Sometimes, I’m simply asked if I want to “use the card on file”, but I’d estimate that about half the time or more, I’m asked for the physical card. In fact, it’s often my Marriott Rewards Visa card which prompts an underachieving desk agent to look down at his/her screen and awkwardly add “...and we do have your gold elite status on file...”.
This quote doesn't state that the hotel must copy the driver's license number, date of birth, and home address. I would very much object to a front desk clerk doing that. Also, I do vaguely remember a CA law that while a driver's license could be checked as ID when paying by check (back in the day when checks were common), the vendor was prohibited from copying information from the ID onto the check, which had been common practice earlier (in fact, some people had their driver's license number printed onto their checks IIRC).

Since San Diego was mentioned, I do recall that on my last trip there, my hotel (nonMarriott) check in agent mysteriously disappeared behind the front desk with my ID (I always use my passport when I travel precisely because it doesn't contain my home address) and credit card. At the time, I thought that the person was checking about the status of my special suite, but I later have wondered about that.....
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Old Apr 30, 14, 10:10 am
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The quote also says the law was not passed but was postponed! Maybe it got passed later.

I have been asked to SHOW id in addition to my credit card many times. This is the first time the data has been written down -- that's what I object to. And that's what I think is illegal in California -- state law trumps local law even if the local law required it (which it doesn't).
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Old Apr 30, 14, 10:15 am
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I have a NY state drivers license with a bar code on the back and I'm pretty sure its been scanned at Lowes when returning items without a receipt. Never gave it a second thought.
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Old Apr 30, 14, 10:15 am
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Sadly, the hotel can set forth their own policies as it relates to collecting the drivers license; however, it does put the hotel at a higher risk as you mentioned regarding potential identity theft. It's a bit of a long shot though as most things also need your SSN.

On the other hand, I once got into it with a desk clerk as they wanted to photocopy my military ID and I refused. I even had to explain to them the US Code Chpt 33, section 701 and they still insisted and the GM was clueless they couldn't do this and said it was a requirement to stay at the hotel since I was booked on a government rate. Interesting enough, submitted a complaint to Marriott and got a personal call from them the very next day they would be handling the issue directly with the hotel to bring them into compliance.
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Old Apr 30, 14, 10:22 am
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
The quote also says the law was not passed but was postponed! Maybe it got passed later.

I have been asked to SHOW id in addition to my credit card many times. This is the first time the data has been written down -- that's what I object to. And that's what I think is illegal in California -- state law trumps local law even if the local law required it (which it doesn't).
Of course. I'm used to showing photo ID when checking in but it's the writing down of personal details that I find objectionable.

In some countries, hotels temporarily keep or record passport information, but those tend to be places where this is required by law and where the country also has a national ID card system involving the registration of one's home address. The USA does not require that everyone have an official national ID card to be carried at all times and shown to police and other officials upon request and for no reason.

Last edited by MSPeconomist; Apr 30, 14 at 11:40 pm Reason: typo
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Old Apr 30, 14, 8:13 pm
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If I were the OP, I would contact the California State Attorney Privacy Enforcement & Protection Unit http://privacylaw.proskauer.com/2012...otection-unit/ and/or the San Diego County District Attorney office. There is no way in my home state that anyone can collect your personal information. Even supermarkets and drug stores are prohibited...something the Ralphs chain once did but was fined millions for. This is California, the litigious state, come on... Showing your id and collecting the info are two different matters. This hotel should be sued.
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Old May 1, 14, 11:46 am
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Unfortunately, my limited experience in contacting government agencies has uniformly been that it was ignored. So I am skeptical about it being worthwhile; better to give the practice publicity (like on this thread) in the hopes that it has at least a little impact.

As for me, I'll never stay at the hotel again even though I will be back in the area regularly.
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Old May 1, 14, 1:00 pm
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post

As for me, I'll never stay at the hotel again even though I will be back in the area regularly.
Talk to the GM & let him know why; otherwise things won't change. Plus it could be a FDC that didn't know what the heck he was talking about & made something up.

Cheers.
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Old May 1, 14, 2:53 pm
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
Tonight, when I checked into the Courtyard San Diego Sorrento Mesa/La Jolla, the night desk clerk not only asked for my credit card and driver's license, he swiped the credit card and then insisted on also entering into his computers all the details on my driver's license.

When I asked why, he said it was the law and also could be helpful to the police! He also claimed it was required by all hotels.
I checked in to the nearby Residence Inn last week. The clerk then didn't do that, he only looked at my ID. (Didn't even swipe a credit card, just asked if I wanted to use the one on file.)

It does seem to be the law (since shortly after 9/11/2001) to have to show ID.
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Old May 1, 14, 5:00 pm
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Originally Posted by sethb View Post
It does seem to be the law (since shortly after 9/11/2001) to have to show ID.
Laws against securing a hotel room under a false name are much older than that. The relevant statute in Colorado, CRS 12-44-101 (4), dates from 1893.

I'm sure people have tried impersonating someone at check-in who, for example, they know is in town for a convention and is likely staying at the "convention hotel".

Re Marriott, I've always been asked for id, but don't ever remember a Marriott-family property copying down any information from it; they're just verifying the name. The USPS doesn't deliver to my home address, anyway. Usually that's the kind of thing mom-and-pop and Motel 6-type places do.
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Old May 1, 14, 9:48 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post

Since San Diego was mentioned, I do recall that on my last trip there, my hotel (nonMarriott) check in agent mysteriously disappeared behind the front desk with my ID (I always use my passport when I travel precisely because it doesn't contain my home address) and credit card. At the time, I thought that the person was checking about the status of my special suite, but I later have wondered about that.....
Though I have never travelled to the San Diego area, I ALWAYS provide my passport when asked for picture ID by the clerk. About 50% of the time, the clerk will try to hand it back and say, "how about a driver's license?" to which I reply, "how about that picture ID I just gave you?" There seems to be a unreasonable desire lately for clerks to put your address into the computer rather than just taking what is on the profile. I've yet to see a legitimate reason for this. Only once has a clerk refused my passport, to which I insisted on taking my 9-night business to the Springhill Suites next door (it was before the 6pm cancellation deadline). She changed her tune and verified that the name on the passport and picture of ME matched the name on the credit card and the reservation.

As a side note, another peeve of mine regarding clerks are those that want my zip code in order to process a cash transaction at a store. I always say, "1F2U3KU, it's Canadian". That about ends that conversation.
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