Last year was not a good year for consumers to use their credit cards in the United States. First, there were reports about Target, a popular retail chain, suffering one of the largest data breaches in history. This breach saw millions of people’s credit and debit card information stolen. Now, travellers are being hit as well.
It has just been made known by Brain Krebs, an independent security researcher, that White Lodging has suffered a data breach. This breach affected not only locals but also tourists from overseas who were staying in one of 14 hotels run by the company. White Lodging is a company that maintains a number of well-known hotel franchises, including Sheraton, Westin, Marriott and Hilton. According to Krebs, this data breach happened in 2013, but it is just now being made known to the public.
The issue was first made known by banks that saw a large number of fraud cases being reported from credit cards that have been used at Marriott hotels. At first, the banks were puzzled because there did not seem to be any known pattern to this fraud. After all, these credit cards had only been used at specific Marriott hotels. They knew it was not a data breach for all Marriott hotels. Also, they noticed that the cards were only used in certain locations. This includes Austin, Denver, Chicago, Louisville, Los Angeles and Tampa.
As it would later turn out, the one thing that all of these Marriott locations had in common was the company that managed them, White Lodging. After this was discovered, White Lodging released a statement on Monday saying that this latest data breach occurred between March 20 and December 16 of 2013. Also, the company revealed that it was not just Marriott locations that were affected by this data breach. In total, there were 14 different hotels, which included Sheraton, Westin, Holiday Inn, Radisson, Renaissance and Marriott locations.
Marriott said that it will continue to monitor this situation as it would monitor any data breach that happens at one of its franchise locations. A spokesman for the company, Jeff Flasherty, said that it is working very closely with White Lodging as it investigates the matter. However, since the breach did not impact any of the systems that are currently under Marriott control, there is no way that Marriott can provide any more information at this time.
Travellers in the UK who may have stayed in one of these types of hotels during the affected dates are asked to monitor their credit and bank account statements carefully. Any odd activity should be reported to their credit or bank representative right away. Despite the fact that this credit and debit card breach was not as big as the one that happened at Target, it is still a serious matter, and consumers need to treat it as such.