L.A. Dining Establishments Informed of Possible Data Security Breach

Officials of The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites which is independently owned by Today's IV, Inc. and operated by Interstate Hotels & Resorts, Inc. under a license issued by Westin Hotel Management, L.P. announced that the hotel's four restaurants -- Lake View Bistro, Lobby Court Bar, Bonavista Lounge, L.A. Prime -- and its valet parking operations may have suffered a data security breach between April 2009 and December 2009. Only guests using credit cards at these establishments were potentially affected by the possible data security breach. The system that stored hotel guest's credit card information was not affected.

Upon learning of the possible data security breach, hotel officials immediately contacted appropriate law enforcement officials. The hotel continues to cooperate with investigators and the credit card companies to identify the responsible hackers and to assist affected customers. Moreover, the hotel continues to carefully monitor and evaluate its computer systems to ensure that customer information is adequately protected.

The unlawfully accessed data may have included names printed on customers' credit or debit cards, credit or debit card numbers, and card expiration dates. Guests who used or visited the affected businesses during the eight month-period and who used a credit or debit card to pay their bills directly to the restaurants and valet parking might have had such information compromised and are encouraged to review their statements from that time period.

Guests who suspect unauthorized activity should report it to the bank that issued the credit card, as well as proper law enforcement authorities, state attorney general's office, and the Federal Trade Commission. The Federal Trade Commission also provides helpful information about how to protect against identity theft. For more information, please visit http://www.ftc.gov/idtheft, call 877-ID-THEFT (877-438-4338), or write to the Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, H-130, Washington, DC 20580.

Guests should also consider placing a fraud alert on one's credit files. An initial fraud alert, which lasts for 90 days, requires potential creditors to use reasonable policies and procedures to verify a customer's identity before issuing credit in his/her name. To place an alert, calls can be made to any one of the following three credit reporting agencies: Experian (888) 397-3742; Equifax (800) 525-6285; or TransUnion (800) 680-7289.

This automatically allows one to place an alert with all three of the agencies. Customers then will receive letters from all three agencies, confirming that the alert is in place and letting customers know how to obtain a free copy of one's credit report. Interested parties also can order a free copy of his/her credit report by calling (877) 322-8228 or by visiting http://www.annualcreditreport.com.

In addition, some states permit customers to place a security freeze on one's account. The security freeze prohibits anyone from opening up new credit without the use of a PIN. It is important to note that the use of a security freeze may impact one's ability to obtain credit, so please contact the credit reporting agencies listed above for the specific procedures and to review a state's rules.

For additional information about other possible actions consumers may take in response to compromised credit card security, please click here.

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