NBC news reporters Jeff Rossen and Josh Davis went undercover to test out a security breach occurring at hotels nationwide.
With the height of the travel season already in full swing, it’s imperative to know about a new hotel device crooks are using to enter your locked hotel rooms. It can even get past dead bolts.
What’s even more scary is that the hotel industry has known about the problem for five months, yet they aren’t any closer to fixing the problem now than when they first discovered it over the summer. Making matters worse, they aren’t warning customers or informing other hotel staff about the dangers.
Rossen and Davis started their investigation by taking along security expert Jim Stickley to New Jersey hotel rooms at the Doubletree Hilton, Ramada, and a Hyatt. These are some of the more well-known and upscale hotels, where hotel guests would expect there to be top security in order.
Using a homemade gadget designed to pop open electric doors, Stickley opened every single one in seconds—no damage to the door occurred, or noise to rouse the suspicions of other hotel guests.
The gadget is easy to make and can fit inside a magic marker. Stickley says a “village idiot” could put one together.
It’s terrifying for guests not just because it puts their valuables at risk for theft when they aren’t in their room, but someone could enter while they’re sleeping and attack them.
So, what’s being done? Onity, the company that makes the locks for many hotels says they’ve already fixed 1.4 million locks and the rest are in the process of being fixed. But, that’s not good enough for many hotel guests traveling with young children.
Joe McInemy, president of the industry group representing hotels, says they are working to figure things out and have extra security precautions in place. They’re also hired an independent company to figure out the best solution. Unfortunately, the timeline for that is open-ended.
Security experts say the best thing you can do to protect yourself is use the security chain on the door when you’re in the room. When you leave, take your valuables with you, or ask for them to be locked in the hotel safe.
View the video below for the full story and more tips to protect yourself during your hotel stay.