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what consumers can do to protect themselves

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Through Ben Popken

Marriot’s disclosure on Friday that an “unauthorized party” gained access to the information of up to 500 million Starwood customers is just the latest in a growing list of massive data violations that may cause some people to wonder, “What can I do now?”

Marriott said that the information that was exposed included all common personal information and then some: passwords, email addresses, departure and date of arrival from hotel &#821

1; and even passport number.

“The company recently discovered that an unauthorized party had copied and encrypted information and took steps to remove it,” said the company in a statement, which stops confirming if any of the information was removed.

After massive computer types in Equifax, Yahoo and Target, consumers can be forgiven to “break out fatigue.” But experts say consumers can still take a few simple steps to

Check your Marriott email address, but also look at

As of November 30, the hotel chain said it should Start emailing guests who were contacted and had their e-mail addresses. But people should also take care of phishing or spear fishing campaigns that try to take advantage of the situation and challenge Marriott through fake emails.

Call the Official Marriott Help Center or visit websites by typing the URL directly into a browser instead of clicking links

Freezing Your Credit

If users are worried that their information has In compromise, they should contact all credit agencies and lock a credit in their accounts.

Credit freezer stopping someone from opening a new credit line with your name until you lift the freeze. If you do not actively use your credit, like negotiating a mortgage or applying for a credit card or car loan, you should do so to prevent ID theft. The cost of these used runs up to $ 20, but the latest legislation has made them available in September.

“If people have not done it anyway, they are behind eight balls at this time,” said Jonathan Cran, research director at cyber security company Kenna Security.

Use a password manager and change your password

Passwords may have been part of the potentially stolen information so Starwood members should change their password now.

If you used the same Starwood password as you are using elsewhere, it’s time to change these passwords and start using a password manager like 1Password or LastPass to make them easier.

Add two-factor authentication to all your accounts

From your email accounts and social social accounts, you should add two-factor authentication to an account that offers it. This is an additional security layer that text or generates a temporary password on your smartphone with a program like Google Authenticator to make sure it’s really you log in to your account.

Monitor Your Banking and Credit Information [19659007] Check your transaction announcements and report suspicious fees to your bank. If you stop being a victim of fraud, report it to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

Sign Up for Online Surveillance

Starwood also gives guests a free WebWatcher hosting year, which promises to monitor online sales sites if your personal information appears on the black market. Cybersecurity experts were not familiar with the service but said it could not hurt.

But you may need to get in line – the registration site was largely unavailable on the day of the crime being announced.

Don & # 39; t freak out about passport number

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

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