Marriott Commits To Helping Victims Of Data Breach By Offering To Pay For New Passports
By Sharelle Burt
Guests who were affected by the Marriott’s massive data breach can get some of their life back at the expense of the hotel. Marriott International is paying for the victims’ new passports, at the request of New York Senator Chuck Schumer.
The hotel chain has been backtracking to help travelers stay safe going forward, offering to pay for certain expenses so they can travel again. “As it relates to passports and potential fraud, we are setting up a process to work with our guests who believe that they have experienced fraud as a result of their passports being involved in this incident,” a Marriott spokesperson said. “If through that process, we determine that fraud has taken place, then the company will reimburse guests for the costs associated with getting a new passport.”
Last Friday’s breach affected close to 500 million guests of the hotel, revealing personal information such as credit card numbers, emails, and addresses. Some 327 million had their passport information compromised. Stolen passport numbers are the easiest way for identity fraud to occur. Marriott is also covering costs for free identity theft monitoring software to track accounts.
Marriott admitted that hackers have been digging into the Starwood database since 2014. Hackers copy and encrypt customers’ personal information, creating their own database of Starwood guests’ data. The company said that Starwood Preferred Guest account information, date of birth, gender, arrival and departure information, reservation date, and communication preference could have been stolen. There are simple ways to protect yourself from identity theft. Purchasing identity protection, changing your password and just monitoring your activity are just a few ways. Be sure to check your balance to make sure there isn’t any fraudulent activity.
Travelers that believe their information has been stolen without permission should contact the National Passport Information Center at 1.877.487.2778.