Casino Hotel Rooms

Room Safes in Casino Hotels

When staying as a guest in a hotel room, storing of valuables and confidential materials is an important consideration. Whether you are traveling for business purposes or pleasure, you are a target for thieves. One option you may have is if the hotel provides safe-deposit boxes for use of its guests. Make sure you read the rules and regulations prior to storing valuables here. Many people feel this is a reliable method to secure valuables.

Nowadays, many hotel guest rooms provide an "in-room safe." These enable the guest to program a code to open and close the safe. Generally, room safes are fine to use, but not a foolproof protection. Experts indicate that these are not as secure as one may believe, as they are not difficult to break into. Also, in the event hotel management, especially if a casino-hotel, is suspicious of you, they can easily gain access, not only to your room, but to the in-room safe. For that matter, they can access your safe deposit box as well. The hotel does assume some risk for items secured in their safe-deposit facilities. To find out the extent of their legal responsibilities, it is important to read the agreement you are asked to sign. There is less liability on the part of the hotel for items secured in the in-room safes. It's quite simple. There is a record of your obtaining the safe-deposit box from the front desk, while there is no documentation pertaining to your use of the in-room safe. In any event, depending on what you are securing, these available options provide you with some form of protection.

Beware of a common ploy of unscrupulous hotel employees. When you enter the hotel room, you attempt to open the room safe and find that it is locked. Most guests are too lazy or tired to bother phoning the front desk to get it open, so they risk leaving valuables out in the open. When the housekeeping staff enters to clean your room, your valuables are not secured. They can be stolen. I have heard several tales of woe where this occurred. Do yourself a favor and phone the front desk to get the room safe operating properly.

Securing of laptop computers and other electronic devices that are too big to place in the room safe or safe-deposit box is a problem. Short of chaining the item to the bed post there is no solid method for securing such an item. You can keep it secured in a locked piece of luggage or lock it in the trunk of your vehicle, if you used the self-parking facility (not valet). Exercise the same care with other confidential material (address books, books, diary), and consider using the room safe (if provided) for items that fit in. If you are a card counter playing on a blackjack team, you certainly want to keep team information well secured. Using good old common sense is your best bet.

Here are some basic tips on maximizing your security when staying as a hotel guest:

  • Stay only at reputable hotels. Major hotel chains are your best bet. Inquire about the overall security of the hotel. Are guests required to show a room key before getting on an elevator? Do elevators and common areas have cameras? While we are most concerned with protecting personal privacy, and camera surveillance is a means of invading such privacy, this is one circumstance where it's to your benefit. Be especially selective when staying in a hotel in a third-world country or otherwise dangerous area.
  • Make sure your assigned room is not in a remote area of the hotel, and not near stairwells. While requesting a high floor, away from the elevator may make for extra walking for you, it also makes it inconvenient for an experienced thief. Remember, in most cases, the thief who is going to look to rob a hotel room is skilled at this practice. That being the case, a skilled thief looks for easy access and minimal time spent on entrance and exits. Choosing such a room, so long as it's not in a remote area of the hotel, makes it less of a target for burglary.
  • When first entering a hotel room check the entire room, including closets. Then make sure all windows and doors securely lock. If something just doesn't seem right or to your liking, ask for a different room.
  • It may be in your best interest to avoid having the bellman take your luggage to the room. However, in the event you have a bit of luggage and are in need of this service, arrange to go up the elevator with the bellman transporting your luggage. The key here is not to allow your belongings out of your sight at any time. If you do avail yourself of this service, don't forget to give the bellman a nice gratuity!
  • It is advisable to keep the curtains drawn to prevent people from the outside or other rooms, from gaining a view of the interior of your room.
  • Always put the Do Not Disturb sign on your door, unless you are ready to have the room cleaned and serviced.
  • When leaving the room, leave one light on. Some folks even advise to leave the radio or television on. You can also purchase an inexpensive timer that can set the radio to go on and off at designated intervals.
  • Be aware of anyone who may be following you to your room. If you suspect this, deliberately walk in the opposite direction of your room, then do an about-face to see if the suspected person does the same.
  • Do not open your door for anyone you are not expecting. If someone comes to the door, claiming to be a hotel representative, call the front desk to verify first.
  • Do not use the pre-order breakfast card that guests leave on their outside door knob. This should be avoided especially if you are traveling solo, as a clever thief can see that you are ordering only one meal and ascertain you are alone.

Hotel Room Trash

Reading the title of this chapter may lead you to believe that I'm going a little overboard. But I assure you that after reading it you will see that light. This chapter discusses the practice of dumpster diving. When most first hear this term, they think about a homeless person in a back alley, searching through a big, disgusting dumpster for leftover food or anything of remote value. The truth is that dumpster diving is a common practice among Private Investigators ("PIs"). If you are looking to find someone, think of phone records. Deadbeat dad disappears? Dumpster diving through the trash of a close friend or relative can produce some revealing information. You're looking for the monthly phone bill that shows all numbers called. This practice has been highly successful for PIs.

A credit card statement has potential to reveal information (spending habits, preferred restaurants, Internet purchases, etc.). Since we are on the topic of obtaining credit card statements, what comes to mind? Identity theft! A thief accesses your credit card information just by sifting through your trash - credit card receipts, bank statements, and let's not forgot those annoying offers to open credit accounts that you receive as a result of having your name in a database for sale! It has been indicated that a large percentage of identity-theft crimes involving credit cards, passwords, or computers is traced to information obtained as a result of dumpster diving.

In the corporate arena, think about the information a cleaning crew can get its hands on - intellectual property, inside information for trading purposes, employee information, passwords, or just about any form of sensitive data. Competing companies must have used this tactic time and time again throughout the years. Then they wonder how certain information leaked out!

Now we're in the casino. Do you see all those cameras? If you are on the casino floor, and you toss a piece of paper in a trash can, casino surveillance has the ability to play back the tape and see what trash can you tossed something in. Think for a moment of anything that comes to mind, which may jeopardize your privacy or the privacy of others. What may appear to be a harmless slip of paper with a telephone number, can very easily open doors for someone doing a little detective work.

Be especially careful not to dispose of paper with important information in the hotel room trashcan. That's one of the easiest places casino surveillance can access.

The solution for your home and office privacy is to purchase a paper shredder and make a habit of using it regularly. For travel, there are even mini-shredders. I saw one that resembles a tabletop pencil sharpener. Not too large to schlep around at all. Short of this, when traveling, you can tear papers into small pieces, tossing parts in different public wastebaskets. I realize this all sound like a hassle and extra work, but if you have information that needs to be protected, it's in your best interest to take some precautionary measures.

Using Computers in Casino Hotels (and Elsewhere)

Modern technology has delivered the Internet to us. It truly is the gateway to the information highway and e-commerce. But by the same token, it has given birth to a new type of crime: cyber-theft. You can be robbed blind and you won't even see the thief who did it. In the past, the consumer (most that is) had to go to a store, wait in line, pay a cashier, then carry the merchandise home. Now one is offered the convenience of sitting in front of a computer, entering all the required information, and making a purchase without ever leaving home. Sounds great, does it not? Let's look at it a little more closely. …

When you make a purchase online, using your computer, you are providing your name, address, telephone number and credit card number. For most consumers, they are so happy to have this convenience that they neglect to consider the concerns of how secure it really is to provide such information in this manner. As long as sensitive information is maintained on a computer, there will be someone out there who has the ability and desire to steal that information and use it to his advantage. That is the essence of identity theft via computers.

Information stored on a computer is not just limited to credit card or banking information, but also can include confidential corporate correspondence. If an individual or a business has proprietary information in a computer file, it is at risk. Now get this … even though you delete a file from all visible sources on your computer, a computer forensics expert has the ability to retrieve that file! You think the file has been purged, but there is some hidden crevice in your hard drive where the file is hanging out.

Experts tell me that the best solution is to use a computer with interchangeable hard drives. Use one removable hard drive to store all your sensitive information, and never use that drive to connect to the Internet. This will be your secure disk. Then when you are accessing e-mail or the Internet, remove this disk, store it somewhere safe and secure, and replace it with your non-secure disk. Keep some files on this disk that are of no consequence. You can even take it a step further by keeping some deliberately misleading files on this disk, thereby throwing off anyone who hacks into your system!

A popular method of providing security and privacy when maintaining files and transmitting messages using computers is encryption. By using a method of encryption, you encode the information contained in a file or transmitted message, using a decoding key, enabling only the sender and recipient to authenticate.

The practice of encrypting messages has been around for quite a while. It was most commonly applied by the military. This was before computers existed, and even back then, there were experts at cracking codes. Today, with computer technology, it has become more difficult, although not impossible, to crack encryption codes.

The simplest method of authentication is the use of a password. Users are advised to create passwords using a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, digits, and symbols. Further advice is to never use common dictionary words, never write down your password, and of course, never tell anyone else your password.

For electronic documents, use of a digital signature is a common method of authenticating the document. Digital Signature Standard (DSS) deals with encryption keys to authenticate documents.

More advanced methods of authentication incorporate biometric methods, such as facial recognition, fingerprint scans, voice recognition, and retina scans.

When using your laptop computer in a casino hotel room, make sure your computer has a firewall, anti-virus, anti-spyware, and is encrypted to prevent others from tapping into your wireless connection.



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