Marriott Will Pay for New Passports of Travelers Affected by Massive Breach
Since news broke of Marriott's massive data breach on Friday, the world's largest hotel chain has been backtracking to help offer safeguards to travelers who may have been affected. Just on Monday, New York Senator Chuck Schumer said that the chain should pay for new passports for those affected, and now, Marriott has conceded and will reimburse travelers who have to get a new travel document as a result of the breach.
"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 told MarketWatch.
"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."
In addition to passport reimbursement, that the chain said that it would give free identity theft monitoring software to track accounts. With the passport protection, Marriott is pledging to help the portion of those affected by the breach — 327 million — who may have had their passport information stolen.
On Monday, Senator Chuck Schumer said that Marriott should cover the $110 new passport fee for any Marriott customer whose passport number was stolen, putting them at a larger risk for identity theft.
Marriott disclosed that hackers had been breaching the Starwood database since 2014, copying and encrypting customers’ personal information, creating their own database of Starwood guests’ data. Marriott, which merged with Starwood earlier this year to form the world’s largest hotel chain, said the breach affects up to 500 million guests.
The company said that credit card information could have potentially been taken, but the largest amount of customers had "some combination of name, mailing address, phone number, email address, passport number, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) account information, date of birth, gender, arrival and departure information, reservation date, and communication preference" stolen.
For US travelers concerned that someone might have obtained their passport information without permission, the Identity Theft Resource Center suggests contacting the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 or NPIC@state.gov for assistance.
If you believe your information was hacked, here is a guide on what to do to protect yourself.