Maryland attorney general starts investigation into Bethesda-based Marriott hotel chain's data breach

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said Friday that he is launching an investigation into a massive data security breach affecting as many as 500 million guests who stayed at hotels operated by Marriott Corp.

Calling the Marriott breach “one of the largest and most alarming we’ve seen,” Frosh said his office would look into what caused the breach and how it would affect consumers.

“We will also be working with the company to make sure all customers who may have been impacted are notified and provided the resources to protect their personal information,” Frosh said.

The Bethesda-based hotel chain said Friday that the security breach at its hotels formerly run by Starwood may have exposed credit card numbers, passport numbers and birth dates. Marriott said the data breach goes back as far as 2014.

Frosh, a Democrat, said his office will monitor Marriott’s response to make sure consumers are protected during the investigation.

The state attorney general’s office urged consumers who may have been affected to protect themselves, including checking their credit scores at major credit reporting agencies and putting a freeze on their files. The office said free reports from the three credit agencies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — can be obtained at www.annualcreditreport.com.

The office also urged consumers to monitor credit card and bank accounts for unauthorized transactions.

mdresser@baltsun.com

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