Marriott International is now warning customers that its Starwood Hotels and Resorts had a data breach that may have compromised personal information from 500 million guests.
Company information posted online said there was unauthorized access to a database containing reservation information at Starwood properties made on or before September 10, 2018.
It is feared that the breach got access to credit card information, names, emails and even passport numbers for some guests.
Marriott International acquired the Starwood properties in 2016 and said then that it created the "World's Largest and Best Hotel Company."
Both companies are now notifying affected customers, offering to provide free web fraud protection and have set up a toll free line for calls from people concerned about the data breach. (1-877-273-9481)
The list of Starwood properties involved include the following:
W Hotels, St. Regis, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Westin Hotels & Resorts, Element Hotels, Aloft Hotels, The Luxury Collection, Tribute Portfolio, Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, Four Points by Sheraton and Design Hotels. Starwood branded timeshare properties are also included.
More information about the data breach can be found here from Marriott and Starwood: https://answers.kroll.com/
Noelle Carter, President of Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Buffalo, advises affected customers to contact their credit card companies to see about having a replacement card issued with a new number.
In addition, Carter suggests setting up fraud alerts and putting a freeze on your credit report.
Information about doing that is available from the Federal Trade Commission: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs
Because emails may have been stolen, Consumer Credit Counseling is warning affected Marriott/Starwood guests to be on-guard for "phishing" emails from scammers. Phishing emails try to trick you into opening attachments that contain viruses.
The scammers may pretend to be from Marriott or Starwood.
In the attached video clip, Noelle Carter shows 7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly how to to check the senders email to see if it is real or fake.