Rental Cars

Finding Out a Stranger Rented a Car Using Your Account

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Ever have this happen to you? I woke up this morning and had a “Thank you for renting from Budget” email in my inbox. I hadn’t rented a car from Budget in at least a year so I figured it was a survey system glitch that had emailed the wrong list.

30 minutes later the e-receipt arrived. I figured it was another glitch but I opened it up to see. There was my name, my FastBreak number, and a familiar-looking last four digits of an AMEX card. I panicked a little bit. Life is a little crazy right now and I’m not paying attention to details like I should. Did I miss somone hacking into my account?

And how did someone leave the car rental facility using my name and information? Aren’t they supposed to check your ID against the reservation on your way out?

I pulled up my Budget FastBreak account and sure enough, the mysterious rental was showing as completed in my profile. The card on file was not the AMEX though. I checked all my AMEX accounts and didn’t see any charges pending, so at least it looked like I hadn’t paid for this problem. But still…if someone could hack my account and rent a car under my name, what other, more important, accounts did I need to worry about??

So I called Budget and got Mike, who was really helpful. I explained the issue and he started digging in.

  • It had been booked on Expedia (I immediately rushed to check what info I had stored in my Exepdia account)…
  • My card on file had been manually overriden and the AMEX had been swiped at the rental car counter.

What!? I asked if it was possible the agent had just accidentally selected my account. Mike investigated further.

  • The name of the cardholder was Kerri Anderson.
  • She had a driver’s license from the same state.

Whew. No one had hacked my account, it was just unusual similarities that led to human error. I’m *almost* surprised something like this hadn’t happened sooner.

Not a big deal afterall. BUT it does highlight a potential issue I hadn’t thought about and I’ve decided to remove the credit cards on file from any loyalty accounts with infrequent use. It will be a little inconvenient and the problem probably won’t ever happen again, but it can’t hurt just in case I don’t notice something in my inbox.

Ever had something like this happen to you?

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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel

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