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Marriott data hack could affect 500m customers

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The records of 500 million customers of the hotel group Marriott International could be at risk, following a large-scale data breach.

The group said an internal investigation had shown that a hacker had been able to access the guest reservation database of its Starwood division in the US since 2014, potentially including passport and credit card numbers.

Marriott said it had reported the incident to the police and continues to support their investigation. The group added that regulatory authorities have also been notified.

“We deeply regret this incident happened,” said Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s chief executive.

“We fell short of what our guests deserve and what we expect of ourselves. We are doing everything we can to support our guests, and using lessons learned to be better moving forward.”

Steps to take if you think you could be affected

Marriott has set up a dedicated website and call centre for any previous guests who wish to make inquiries.

Adam French, Which? consumer rights expert, said: “This data breach is on a colossal scale and it will be of great concern to Marriott customers. It is vital that Marriott provides clear information on what has happened and helps anyone who has been negatively impacted.”

French suggests that anyone who is worried they could be affected should consider changing their online passwords, monitor bank and other online accounts as well as their credit report to guard against potential identity fraud.

“Also, be wary of emails regarding the breach, as scammers may try and take advantage of it,” he added.