Insights and liability tips on how to protect your inn or bed & breakfast, giving you and your guests peace of mind.

Ward, Hayden
/ Categories: BLOG Articles

Hospitality Fraud: Keep Customer Personal Information Safe

Bed and breakfast receptionist

Fraud — the one word all businesses hate to hear. Unfortunately, the hospitality industry has an elevated risk of being involved in a fraudulent scam. With thorough protocols, a well-trained staff and staying vigilant with billing, you can protect your inn from falling victim. Here are some best practices for preventing fraud at your inn:

Credit Cards

When accepting credit or debit cards as a form of payment, be sure to verify the identity of the customer, either through their signature or by asking for further identification.

Equally important as verifying the cardholder’s identity is to make sure your billing descriptor is the business’ name. By having your inn’s name as the descriptor, it will appear in the transactions on guests’ cards and will help limit friendly fraud.

Customer Contact

When guests check-in, it’s crucial to ask for photo identification and cross-reference their name with the credit card being used. Don’t forget to enter their complete name and address into your booking system. If your booking system allows for online check-in, make sure it asks for the customer to upload their identification and has a signature prompt for their agreement.


When working on your computer, it’s important to follow these guidelines to keep sensitive information secure:

  • Never leave passwords where anyone can find them.
  • When you step away from your computer, always lock the screen.
  • When sending e-mail with personal data, make sure it’s encrypted for security.

Only gather personal customer information through your secure website. Use discretion when offering or receiving personal information over the phone as this is a common way for thieves to commit identity fraud.

Keep a Record of Everything

Be sure to keep all receipts, invoices and other records secure; do not leave such paperwork lying around. When disposing of materials containing personal information, use the paper shredder or a secure recycling container. If the files are in a digital format, whether in email communications or confirmations that show the cancellation policy, they need to be stored in a safe place such as on the cloud. If you receive a request for a refund or a chargeback, you’ll need to provide all information that you can such as:

  • Sales or transaction receipts.
  • Matching billing and shipping addresses.
  • Positive AVS (address verification service) response.
  • Any conversations with the customer or evidence that the merchant fulfilled the transaction.

Train Your Staff on Fraud Prevention

The first line of defense against cyberthreats and fraud is a well-trained team. Consider regular and relevant training, beginning at onboarding. Your staff should know how to identify and respond to current and emerging fraud attacks, especially email phishing schemes. Taking time to educate your staff will greatly reduce your business’ risk of succumbing to fraud.

Safe & Secure With CBIZ Innkeepers Insurance

Above all, be aware of the potential for identity theft when handling personal data. If you’re ever suspicious of a transaction or conversation, follow your instinct and pursue further verification before proceeding with any requests. Ensure that your coverage includes an identity theft expense for additional peace of mind. For additional safety guidance and insurance solutions for your inn, connect with a member of our team.

This blog may contain scenarios that are provided as examples only. Coverage is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy issued. The information provided is general in nature and may be affected by changes in law or the interpretation of such laws. The reader is advised to contact a professional prior to taking any action based upon this information.

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CBIZ Innkeepers Insurance, a division of CBIZ Insurance Services, Inc., is the largest insurer of innkeeper businesses in the United States. As part of an $850 million New York Stock Exchange traded company (CBZ), we developed a specific policy coverage to meet the needs for inns and bed & breakfasts, and the amenities offered by these businesses. Our policy is underwritten by an A.M. Best Rated A++ (Superior) company.

The CBIZ Innkeepers Insurance team knows insurance, specifically the risks and exposures related to beds & breakfasts. We won't confuse you with technical "insurance speak" — our representatives will explain your coverage in simple terms. With hands-on, personal customer service, we guarantee swift communication. As specialists in the industry, we leverage our knowledge and passion to ensure you and your inn are protected.





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