Marriott Database Hacked
BREACH THOUGHT TO BE ONE OF THE LARGEST IN HISTORY
Marriott announced that their Starwood reservation database, which includes all Marriott, Westin, Sheraton, W, and St. Regis hotels, has been compromised. This breach exposed the personal information of approximately half a billion people. According to Marriott, hackers gained access to the Starwood data in 2014, but the company only recently discovered the problem. The breach included 327 million records of “some combination” of names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, passport numbers, Starwood Preferred Guest account information, dates of birth, gender, and hotel booking information. Consumers’ credit card data was also stolen. At this point, Americans should assume that if their identity wasn’t compromised after the Equifax breach, it has been now. And given that about 40% of hotel leisure travelers are 55 and older, the threat of our parents being targeted is very real.
Here are some important tips to remember, given that data breaches have become the “new normal.”
- Passwords should be changed on all accounts. Given that personal and financial information was stolen, this is one step that will keep you more secure. Passwords should be changed regularly even during the rare periods when a widespread breach has not been announced.
- Initiating a fraud alert, credit freeze, or credit lock with credit bureaus will provide some protection. But keep in mind that typical credit monitoring services will not identify potential fraud across all financial accounts. It will not routinely pick up the use of unauthorized active credit card purchases, the opening of bogus depository (checking or savings) accounts in your name (think IRS scam), or withdrawals or transfers from these accounts. Monitoring all financial accounts—not just credit based activity—will provide consumers and their loved ones with more comprehensive protection.
- Have regular family ‘check-ins’ in which you include a discussion about the latest scams. Consider developing a system in which family members can keep an eye on each other’s finances, with regular monitoring of all accounts and daily scans of the Dark Web. The capability of alerting family members is critical.
Read the full article on the EverSafe Blog.