Guest Credit Card Data Stolen from Hotel Firm

Computer hackers have stolen and used credit card data from guests at as many as 21 Destination Hotels & Resorts properties in the U.S.

Police in Austin, Texas, say the thieves stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from hotel guests over a three-month period before the breach was discovered.

Data from more than 700 guests across the country was involved, with the stolen credit card numbers used mostly in Europe, law enforcement officials told ABC News.

Colorado-based Destination, which operates 30 hotels, resorts and conference centers in the U.S., said in a statement it had "uncovered a malicious software program inserted into its credit card processing system from a remote source."

The company said the software breach has been corrected and it is again processing credit card information securely.

An investigation involving the FBI and local law enforcement in Texas is under way. Investigators believe the breach was isolated to locations where credit cards were physically swiped. Other transactions - on the Internet and over the phone - do not appear to have been compromised.

The hotel firm said it was notifying guests to advise them of the situation and suggesting they contact their credit card company. Other personal information was not compromised, the company said.

"We are concerned for our guests and we sincerely regret any inconvenience this may cause them," said Charlie Peck, president and chief operating officer of Destination. "We know we are not the first hotel company to be victimized by this kind of attack, but our greatest concern is for our guests who may be affected as well."

In Austin, according to ABC News, more than three dozen guests and diners at the Driskill Hotel had their data stolen after either spending a night at the property or eating at the hotel's two restaurants.

"The losses right now are probably in the hundreds of thousands. I think each loss is averaging about two or three thousand dollars," Sgt. Matt Greer told ABC. "It's a result of somebody hacking into the system, not somebody at the hotel."

Photo of Driskill Hotel,visualist images, flickr
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