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3 On Your Side: Hotel Company Is Latest Data Breach Target

jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Reports of yet another data breach are raising consumers’ eyebrows. This time, hotel guests may be the victims in the latest hacking incident.

White Lodging, a hotel management company, says guests at more than a dozen of their properties — including some Marriott, Holiday Inn and Sheraton hotels — may have been impacted by a suspected credit card data breach between March and December of last year.

White Lodging manages hotels under agreements with the hotel owners and is a distinct and separate entity from specific hotel brands. The food and beverage outlets affected by the suspected breach were located at the following hotels:

• Marriott Midway, Chicago, IL
• Holiday Inn Midway, Chicago, IL
• Holiday Inn Austin Northwest, Austin, TX
• Sheraton Erie Bayfront, Erie, PA
• Westin Austin at the Domain, Austin, TX
• Marriott Boulder, Boulder, CO
• Marriott Denver South, Denver, CO
• Marriott Austin South, Austin, TX
• Marriott Indianapolis Downtown, Indianapolis, IN
• Marriott Richmond Downtown, Richmond, VA
• Marriott Louisville Downtown, Louisville KY
• Renaissance Plantation, Plantation, FL
• Renaissance Broomfield Flatiron, Broomfield, CO
• Radisson Star Plaza, Merrillville, IN

This data theft follows that of Target, Neiman Marcus, and Michael’s Craft stores, leaving retailers and consumers to navigate relatively new terrain.

Jeff Blyskal is a Senior Editor for Consumer Reports. He says, “This is basically something new, and it’s scary because we’re not used to it; we’re not familiar with this sort of thing.”

According to Mark Rasch, a privacy and security expert, “Even though your credit card is still in your wallet, thousands of people all over the world can have copies of your credit card now. We can make a fake one, and they can use it anywhere in the world.”

That may leave consumers wondering if their cards are safe anywhere.

So what can you do to protect yourself? Blyskal says, “Sign up for online banking and mobile banking and you can monitor your account every day in real time, so you can see if there’s an unauthorized charge on there. The same with your credit cards.”

If you suspect your identity has been compromised, you may want to consider putting a security freeze on your credit report. A freeze is different than just putting an alert on your account. A credit freeze makes it more difficult for a crook to open new accounts using stolen information. For more information on how to do this, visit:

http://consumersunion.org/pdf/SecurityFreeze-Consider.pdf

www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0279-extended-fraud-alerts-and-credit-freezes#order

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