Bah humbug! 2016 is ending with more bad news about data breaches — this one involving a major hotel chain. Brian Krebs just reported about a possible credit and debit card breach at one of the brands operated by the Inter-Continental Hotels Group. He was alerted by security experts about a pattern of fraudulent credit and debit card transactions particularly with cards used by consumers at Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express at U.S. locations (https://krebsonsecurity.com/2016/12/holiday-inn-parent-ihg-probes-breach-claims/).

This is very worrisome as Mr. Krebs reports since the Inter-Continental Hotels Group is the parent corporation for over 5,000 hotels in the United States and around the world. Some of their other brands include Kimpton Hotels, Crowne Plaza and the Inter-Continental Hotels.

Mr. Krebs notes that consumers whose credit and debit cards are fraudulently used are not responsible for those charges but consumers must report such unauthorized transactions ASAP to their respective credit and debit card companies.

So anyone who’s stayed at a Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn Express — or any other the other Inter-Continental Hotels Group brands — must be vigilant about checking bank and credit card statements.

I’ll end 2016 on a possibly foolishly optimistic note — here’s hoping 2017 brings better protections for consumers and fewer privacy and data breaches.