Marriott promises it will pay to replace passports in fraud cases after massive hack

Hotel chain Marriott says it will reimburse victims of a massive data breach at the company who had their passports and other personal information obtained by hackers.

A spokesperson for the global hospitality chain told MarketWatch on Wednesday that it would work with customers to determine if their personal information had been illegally obtained during an intrusion in which as many as 500 million customers were potentially affected.

“As it relates to passports and potential fraud, we are setting up a process to work with our guests who believe that they have experienced fraud as a result of their passports being involved in this incident,” a Marriott spokesman told the website.

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“If, through that process, we determine that fraud has taken place, then the company will reimburse guests for the costs associated with getting a new passport,” the spokesman continued.

Marriott's announcement comes just days after the chain revealed that a previously-unknown vulnerability in its Starwood Hotels reservation service had left the personal information of as many as 500 million guests unsecured.

The vulnerability was discovered on Sept. 8, 2018, when the company was alerted to a breach of its systems, according to a statement posted on Marriott's website.

That hacking effort could have exposed "information on up to approximately 500 million guests who made a reservation at a Starwood property," Marriott said at the time.

Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerFreedom Caucus calls on leadership to include wall funding, end to 'catch and release' in funding bill Push to pay congressional interns an hour gains traction with progressives House approves two-week spending measure to avert shutdown MORE (D-N.Y.), the top ranking Democrat in the Senate, had called on Sunday for Marriott to begin reimbursing customers affected by the hack, specifically when it came to obtaining new passports.

“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,” Schumer said.

“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.”