Burned by the Marriott Hack? Here’s What to Do.

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated November 22, 2019

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December 18, 2018

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

The year 2018 was memorable for many reasons – some good, some bad. One unfortunate noteworthy tidbit about 2018 is that it was marked by a significant number of major companies announcing data breaches. Millions, if not billions, of people around the world were affected.

Marriott hotels is the latest company to reveal it was victimized by hackers. In November 2018, the hotel chain announced that data of about half a billion patrons of its Starwood hotels had been accessed by hackers. Beginning in 2014, hackers illegally accessed the chain’s reservations database, which includes such sensitive personal information as mailing addresses, credit card information, and passport data.

If you stayed at a Starwood property on or before September 10, your data may have been compromised. Here are some things you can do right now to protect yourself from financial or identity theft.

  • Learn more. Visit the website that Marriott created to answer questions about the data breach.
  • Change your passwords. You should be doing this anyway, but if you stayed at a Starwood property during the hack dates, update any and all online passwords you may use.
  • Be suspicious. Hackers are incredibly clever. Never, ever share passwords, log-in information, account numbers, or any other personal information over the phone or online unless you are absolutely certain of who you’re dealing with. For example, if you call your bank, you can be sure you’re talking to someone at your bank. If someone calls you claiming to represent your bank, that person could be an impostor trying to steal your data.
  • Enroll in a reputable identity theft protection and credit monitoring service. Identity Guard, LifeLock, and Experian are examples of companies that use artificial intelligence to continuously scan data in search of data irregularities and alert you immediately to suspicious activity. If you are victimized, these services help to mitigate damage and navigate the long and cumbersome path needed to recover from the hack.

Signing up for credit monitoring is smart even if you haven’t ever stayed at a Starwood property. You eat at restaurants, shop at stores, and use social media – which means your data is at risk. According to a 2017 report by the Ponemom Institute, every 2 seconds someone is the victim of identity theft. Hackers are pervasive and determined. Identity theft can be devastating. Protecting yourself is a sound investment.

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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