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Attending conventions now means safeguarding one’s wallet a bit more closely. Some Boston conventioneers in fall 2013 weren’t so lucky.

Boston credit card breachMassachusetts Convention Center Authority confirmed the likelihood of a data breach involving theft of credit card data. According to officials, an anomaly may have affected those attending tradeshows in Boston between October and November 2013.

Approximately 8,000 attendees at the American Society of Human Genetics in October and another 13,000 conventioneers at the American Public Health Association in early November could have been directly affected. Officials with both shows disclosed that hundreds of people reported unauthorized charges on their credit card accounts after visiting Boston.

Owners of two restaurants at the Westin Hotel connected to the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center as well as eight dining establishments in the city, The Briar Group, confirmed its computer systems were hacked during that time. Customer names, credit card numbers, expiration dates and security information were captured from the cards’ magnetic strips.

Boston Convention and Exhibition Center

Boston Convention and Exhibition Center

The Briar Group released a statement of apology for the incident on Dec. 27, 2013. Officials asked patrons at the affected locations during that time frame to monitor their bank statements and personal credit reports for any potential fraudulent activity.

Conventioneers should always use common sense regarding personal safety and security when traveling to and from events, and not just on the show floor. Delegates should always continue to safeguard personal belongings and remain vigilant at all times.

Checking with the host city’s convention and visitors bureau prior to departure may provide useful specific travel advice.

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