“Hi there, this is Rachel from Marriott. We’d like to offer you a free night at one of our hotels!”
Does this sound familiar? Before the news of the Starwood breach broke, the scam calls had already started. We’ve received multiple reports of scammers posing as Marriott or Starwood representatives in the wake of this news. If you’ve stayed at a Starwood hotel in recent years, chances are you’ve been impacted by the massive data breach that potentially exposed the personal data of around 500 million people.
For over 300 million, the exposed information includes phone numbers. It’s the second biggest corporate data breach in history after Yahoo’s breach that left 3 billion accounts compromised.
Scammers are already taking advantage of the breach, using exposed phone numbers to target potential victims and pose as Marriott employees. If you suspect your information has been stolen, it’s important to be extra vigilant in the wake of this breach. Marriott has set up a website and call center to assist affected customers and has issued a statement that the company will not ask you to provide your password by phone or email.
To scammers, nothing is more valuable than an active number. With these sorts of breaches, scammers get access to millions of numbers they can target for future schemes. The added panic of people’s sensitive information being leaked makes it easy for scammers to scare victims into giving up even more details. With a data breach like this one, all of these details are ripe for harvesting information to make it easier to steal your identity. If anyone calls you and asks for too much info, hang up and contact Marriott directly.
If you’ve received a suspicious call from a fake Marriott employee, report the number and incident to the FTC.