Baby born on I-75 in Dayton

Why you need to freeze your credit if you stayed at a Marriott hotel

If you have stayed at a Marriott Starwood hotel, experts say you should get a new credit card.

A four-year hack has left up to 500 million travelers vulnerable to identity theft. The breach, which could be the largest in history, targeted passport and credit numbers, along with names, phone numbers, emails, mailing address and birthdays.

»BIZ BEAT: Gas prices to remain low, but threats still loom

Anyone who stayed at a Marriott Starwood brand hotel during that time should get new credit card numbers, said Rebecca Hammons, a professor in the Center for Information and Communication Sciences at Ball State University.

Starwod brands include Sheraton, W Hotels, Westin, Le Méridien, Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft, St. Regis, Element, The Luxury Collection, Tribute Portfolio and Design Hotels.

Hammons is a Starwood customer, but said based on when the four-year frame of misuse fell, it’s not likely her data was breached.

“That said, I will change my credit card number today to prevent fraud, and I will be on alert for any identity theft activities,” she said.

»RELATED: Gymboree considers closing half its stores

Shoppers can also freeze their credit because it will stop any activity to create new accounts, said John North, president and CEO of Dayton’s Better Business Bureau.

To minimize the effects of future hacks, Hammons said travelers should use only 0ne card for all travel expenses including airfare, rental cars, hotels and ride-sharing services.

“This makes it easier to quickly shut down any fraudulent activities, and many card services will reach out to you if their algorithms detect unusual activity,” she said.


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