What You Need to Know About the Marriott-owned Starwood Hotels Breach

On November 30th, Marriott International announced that the Starwood reservation system had been breached and the personal information of up to 500 million guests had been stolen. Starwood brands include Westin Hotels and Resorts, W Hotels, Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, St. Regis, Aloft Hotels, Four Points by Sheraton, Le Méridien Hotels and Resorts, Tribute Portfolio, Design Hotels, Element Hotels, The Luxury Collection and Starwood branded timeshare properties. Marriott hotels, including Residence Inn and the Ritz-Carlton have a separate reservation system that wasn't affected.

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Beware of Phishing Phone Calls

Phishing scams using emails, texts, and websites have been around for years. Telephone-based phishing scams have been around for years, too. The phone phishers have some new tricks that are making it harder to detect the scams. What these scams have in common is that they use caller ID spoofing and have some of your personal information. The phishing call may be an actual person, an automated call, or a combination of the two. Here are two examples.

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It's Open Enrollment Time for Many Health Insurance Plans

No matter how you receive your health insurance, the fall is typically when you can make changes to your health insurance plan.

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Help Protect Your Identity With a Free Credit Report Freeze

Consumers no longer have to pay to use an important tool to help protect their identity. As of September 21, 2018, freezing your credit report at the three major credit reporting agencies is now free. Previously, a consumer had to pay a fee to freeze and unfreeze their credit report. The fees for placing, lifting, and removing a credit freeze were determined by state law.

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What You Need to Know About the Facebook Breach

In late September, Facebook announced that a security breach was discovered on September 25th that affected almost 50 million accounts. The hackers stole Facebook access tokens which keep people logged into Facebook. The vulnerability that the hackers exploited was in the View As feature which allows people to see what their profile looks to other users. Facebook Login which allows people to login to other services using their Facebook account login was also compromised.

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Beware of Flood Damaged Vehicles When Purchasing Used

Hurricane Florence caused a lot of flooding. Flooding has also occurred in the Northeast and other areas this year due to torrential rains. Flooding damages large numbers of vehicles every year. Consumers need to be aware that flood damaged vehicles can appear on used car lots far away from where the flooding occurred. A vehicle may have been cleaned up and won't show visible signs of damage but there are usually long-term effects. The vehicle may prematurely rust, wiring becomes brittle or breaks, the electrical and mechanical systems break down, and corrosion can damage vital components.

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