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Reservation information

One of the places I am trying to set up a reservaton with only has an email address and they are asking for me to send my credit card number via email. I'm concerned about doing it this way. Isn't this dangerous as it can get stolen this way?

Posted by
7205 posts

Yes it is dangerous. It is best to use a secure website (https) or fax or call directly.

Posted by
8954 posts

The chances of your email being intercepted and read are astronomical, in any event email is automatically encrypted anyways. Fraud usually happens when the person at the far end of the transaction writes down you credit card number on a piece of paper and sells it to a criminal organization, Thus, you run the same risk if you use email, fax or telephone. As long as you reasonably trust the hotel there is no reason not to use email.

Posted by
21260 posts

Of all three, phone, fax, and e-mail, e-mail is the most secure by a wide margin. AND if you want increase that security by an even wider margin, send the number in two parts about ten minutes apart. Practically impossible to intercept. Scan back a couple months or use the search function, this subject is frequently discussed and throughly explained.

Posted by
479 posts

Linda, I feel your pain. I have had to do this many times. Unfortunately, many of the locally owned hotels in Europe still have this practice. I haven't had my information stolen. Chances are, if this is a locally owned place that has been in operation for some time then they can be trusted.

If you're still too concerned to give this information the best plan is to not make a reservation. When are you going? If you're going from October through April you can probably cross your fingers and trust to luck just about anywhere in Europe. The only exception to this is if you're going to a town/city that is having a major festival or convention. So if you choose not to make a reservation then be flexible and look for a room before lunch.

Posted by
1449 posts

if you have a credit card such as Citibank you can use their website (or download a piece of software to your computer) to create unique numbers for each use. And if you click on the options you can also set a dollar limit and expiration time.

I do this all the time online with merchants I don't know; I create a new number with a limit $10 or so higher than my purchase. Even if the number gets stolen it isn't much use to the thief; they can't run up to my credit limit in charges.

Even if you don't have this available to you, I agree with the earlier posters that sending your number is safe. Your email isn't going to get intercepted on its way to the hotel. The danger is that the clerk is dishonest, or that their computer with your number in it gets broken into. Dangers you face no matter what you do. Even if you called or faxed your card, the first thing they do is enter it into their computer as part of their reservation record.

Posted by
21260 posts

Mike, there is another approach that I forgot about. That is easier. I have basicly three credit card -- one card I use almost all the time, second backup that is used infrequently and third card that is almost never used and is not authorized for European charges. I use that creidt card to confirm reservations. I supposed it is slightly dishonest because that card could never be charge. When we checkin we change to our primary card. Never had any problems with that approach.

Posted by
389 posts

Thanks everyone for your replies. Since most of you agreed that it is safe to send via e-mail, I just did it. I'm not worried about anything happening at the hotel but rather just on its way. I'll just keep a real close eye on the card for awhile. If a lot of people do it this way, it must be fine. Thanks again!

Posted by
4555 posts

Introducing a packet sniffer through a Trojan is common practice among malicious hackers, and it can easily read all your computer traffic and send off important information like passwords and credit card numbers. Even an amateur can easily find software and instructions to do this on the internet. I know of no easily-accessible way to tap into phone or fax lines. But as long as your anti-virus software is kept up to date, you should be able to defeat this threat. BTW, unless you're using a specific encryption program, your e-mail is not sent encrypted. The message is broken up into packets and those packets are sent via many different routes to the destination, where it's reassembled into logical form, which makes it difficult to "tap" once it leaves your computer. But that doesn't help if there's a sniffer already running on your computer. Again, though, the threat is VERY low.

Posted by
486 posts

Since this has become a discussion of sending credit card information securely, let me suggest that you do what I did - get a second email address from the person at the other end and send half the information to one and half to the other. I did this for an apartment rental in Florence. She gave me her personal email as well as business one. While it doesn't protect against a dishonest person, it can protect against a dishonest employee or visitor who might see one of the emails. It is just a little safer than a single or even multiple emails to the same site especially if the business one makes no reference to the credit card ("here is my number")and includes extra digits which you can tell the person in the other email (which could contain expiration information) to ignore.

Posted by
932 posts

Another way to send credit card numbers via email (assuming, of course that you have a virus protection program on YOUR computer and don't have any trojan horses living on your computer ) is to send three separate emails, each one containing 1/3 of your credit card numbers. You can email the receiver and let them know in which order to assemble the numbers. I have done this several times with no problesm at all.