A data breach of Marriott’s Starwood Guest reservation database exposed the personal information of 500 million people. (To put this number into perspective, the infamous Equifax breach exposed only 150 million people.)

What was exposed?

According to Marriott, the hackers accessed people’s names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, passport numbers, dates of birth, gender, Starwood loyalty program account information, and reservation information. For some, they also stole payment card numbers and expiration dates. FTC

In response to the breach, Marriott is providing a free year of fraud protection services. Furthermore, if you have evidence that your passport number was compromised, Marriott will pay for you to acquire a new one.

You can go to answers.kroll.com or call 877-273-9481 to find out how you may have been affected.

Of course, this recent breach brings to light once again the security challenges involved with traveling. Last month we were writing to you about Cathay Pacific’s data breach.

There have been many breaches before this, and there will be many after. The biggest thing you can do to protect your information is to not give it to big targets.

When Cook Travel collects your information, we don’t share it with the major airlines. (We share only your name and date of birth, which is required to book your ticket.)

If you’re concerned about security when traveling, call one of our travel experts. They will put you at ease, so that stress-free vacation you’ve been planning will finally start to feel like one.