SCHUMER: MASSIVE MARRIOTT BREACH, UNLIKE MOST HACKS, COMPROMISED TRAVELERS’ U.S. PASSPORT INFO, WHICH IN COMBO WITH OTHER STOLEN DATA, COULD CREATE GIANT IDENTITY THEFT HEADACHE FOR MANY; SENATOR DEMANDS MARRIOTT IMMEDIATELY NOTIFY THOSE AT GREATEST RISK & PAY FOR NEW PASSPORT IF CUSTOMER REQUESTS IT
This Massive Corporate Breach Provides A Rare Treasure Trove Combination Of Personal Info That Includes The U.S. Passport Of Many
Combined With Address, Credit Card Info., DOB & More This Breach Could Allow Thieves To Sell Your Identity On The Dark Web With Even Greater Ease, Where This Info Can Sell For Thousands
Schumer: It’s $110 For A New Passport & Hack Victims Shouldn’t Have To Foot The Bill To Try And Minimize Exposure
Amidst news of a massive 500 million-person data breach involving Marriott’s Starwood properties, including its brands of Westin and Sheraton hotels, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer is urging the famous hotel company to help minimize the personal exposure of some of its breach’s most vulnerable victims by footing their bill for a new U.S. passport, should they make the request.
“The experts will tell you, there is an art to identity theft and it lies in the ability to paint the most complete picture of the person whose information you’re looking to steal or sell,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “Unfortunately, for many travelers who have stayed in one of Marriott’s Starwood hotels, they’ve provided the company with an array of personal color—like their passport information—that thieves can now access to complete the canvass and assume or sell an identity.”
Schumer, today, said that the Marriott breach is unlike many other breaches in that this one impacts half a billion people, of which millions could have compromised passport information. Schumer says this Marriott breach could create an even bigger identity theft headache for people simply because the information that was compromised involves so much varied and personal detail on guests.
“One of the rarer aspects of this latest breach with Marriott is that hackers gained access to U.S. passport numbers and information. In combination with other personal information compromised during the breach, victims of this specific attack could be more vulnerable than victims of other massive breaches. That is why Marriott must personally notify customers under the greatest security risk immediately and then foot the bill for those folks to acquire a new passport and number should they request it. Right now, the clock is ticking to minimize the risk customers face and one way to do this is to request a new passport and make it harder for thieves to paint that full identity picture,” Schumer added.
According to media reports on the heels of the Marriott breach, “a compromised passport number could be your ticket to identity theft woes.” And according to a New York Associated Press report, “The data stolen from the Marriott hotel empire is so rich and specific that it could be used for espionage, identity theft or even home burglaries.”
“Combined with names, addresses and other personal information, passport numbers are a greater concern than stolen credit card numbers because thieves could use them to open fraudulent accounts,” the AP report said.
Schumer pointed out --and reassured breach victims-- that compromised passport numbers alone could not be used by thieves for travel, or to access any State Department records. Schumer said it is the way in which this kind of information is combined with other stolen personal details that victims need to be vigilant about, because criminals build profiles on people and then sell those profiles on the dark web or through other methods.
For example, according to Experian, there is a huge marketplace for stolen data on the dark web. The most popular kinds of information thieves need to use or steal your identity include information on your passport, driver’s license, loyalty accounts and more. All told, a strong profile, pieced together by a criminal, could sell for thousands of dollars.
The New York State Attorney General has also opened an investigation into the Marriott breach and Schumer has asked the company to provide him with information on how many New Yorkers have been impacted directly. The data breach of the company that was identified on November 19th is one of the largest on record and reportedly may involve millions of compromised passports.