Marriott Data Breach

Nearly 500 million consumers who made a reservation at a Marriott-owned property between 2014 and September of 2018 are likely to have had their data stolen in the second-largest corporate data breach in history. Public Media stations, many of whose donors are frequent travelers and monthly Sustainers, need to brace for a flurry of calls or credit card failures.

What data was compromised

Exposed data includes name, address, phone number, email address, passport numbers, and dates of birth. In addition, millions of credit card numbers and expiration dates dating back to four years may have been compromised in the hack.

How public media stations should respond

• Be prepared for an increase of credit card charge failures
• Ramp up your payment failure/recapture program to capture donor-intended contributions. Remember, the most effective method to get updated payment information is to contact the donor by phone immediately after the first notification of payment failure.
• Redouble efforts to converting donors to EFT to avoid complications surrounding credit card breaches. Direct debit offers less volatility and improved retention rates over credit cards.
• Air spots reminding Sustainers that they can update their credit card information on the station’s secure web site (if applicable) or by calling the station’s member services number.

Starwood guests are being advised to take action

Consumers are being told to take a number of steps to protect themselves:
• Beware of e-mails or phone calls alerting you of a data breach; do not give additional information to the caller or organization
• Cancel credit cards on which you have made a reservation and ask your bank for a reissue
• Open separate credit card for online transactions
• Monitor credit card activity and/or put a freeze on your credit to ascertain whether applications are being made in your name with your data

If you have any operational questions or additional suggestions about protecting donor-intended revenue, contact the CDP team through our web site. Thank you to WGBH’s Daren Winckel for being the impetus behind this post, and for providing detailed action items to protect station revenue. 

Barry NelsonComment