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what consumers can do to protect themselves

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By Ben Popken

Marriot's disclosure on Friday that an "unauthorized party" gained access to information for up to 500 million Starwood customers is just the latest in A growing list of massive data violations that can let some people wonder, "What, if anything, can I do at this point?"

Marriott said that the information was subjected to all common personal information and saw some: passwords, email addresses, departure and arrival dates from hotels ̵[ads1]1; and even passport numbers.

"The company recently discovered that an unauthorized party had copied and encrypted information and took steps to remove it," the company said in a statement stopping shortly to confirm if any of the information was removed.

After massive data types on Equifax, Yahoo and Target, consumers can be forgiven to "break fatigue." But experts say that consumers can still take a few easy steps to rotate.

Check your email for Marriott communication but be ready

As of November 30th, the hotel chain said that it would start sending emails to guests who were affected and had given their e-mail addresses. But people should also take care of phishing or spearfishing campaigns that try to take advantage of the situation and imitate Marriott through fake emails.

Call the official Marriott Help Center or visit websites by typing the URL directly to a browser instead of clicking links directly.

Freeze Credit

If users are concerned that their information has been a compromise, they should contact each of the credit agencies and put a credit freeze on their accounts.

Credit freezes stop someone from opening up a new credit line by using your name until you lift the freezer. Unless you actively use your credit, like negotiating a mortgage or applying for a credit card or car loan, you should do this to prevent ID theft. The cost of these used to run up to $ 20, but new legislation has released them from September.

"If people have not done so yet, they're behind the eight-ball at this point," said Jonathan Cran, chief executive officer at cybersecurity company Kenna Security.

Use a password processing and change your password

Passwords may have been part of potentially stolen data so Starwood members may need to change their password now.

If you used the same password on Starwood as you use elsewhere, it's now a good time to change your passwords and start using a password processing like 1Password or LastPass to make them easier.

Add two-factor authentication to all your accounts

Starting with your email address and the most important social media accounts, you should add two-factor authentication to any account that offers it. This is an additional security layer that captures or generates a temporary password on your smartphone with a program such as Google Authenticator to make sure you really log in to your account.

Monitor your bank and credit information [19659007] Check transaction tasks and report suspicious fees to your bank. If you end up being exposed to fraud, you must also report it to the FBI Internet Crime Crime Center at

Sign Up for Network Monitoring

Starwood also gives guests free year's value of WebWatcher, which promises to monitor online resale pages if your personal information is displayed on the black market. Cybersecurity experts were not familiar with the service, but say it can not hurt.

But you may have to queue – the registration website was largely unavailable the day the violation was announced.

Don & # 39; t freak out about passport number

Marriott stated that a subset of customers also had their passport number visible. It sounds scary, but according to the National Pass Help Desk, citizens do not have much to worry as long as they still hold physical passports.

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