E&Y Gaffe Exposes Hotels.com Customer Info

The theft of an auditor's laptop has put the data of some 243,000 Hotels.com customers into the hands of unknown criminals.

Hotels.com and auditors at Ernst & Young are warning consumers of an incident that may have exposed the personal data of roughly 243,000 customers of the online travel site.

According to the two companies, an Ernst & Young auditor working with the Hotels.com customer information had stolen from his car a laptop computer that was carrying the data, which included individuals' names and credit card numbers. Both Hotels.com, which is owned by online travel conglomerate Expedia, and Ernst & Young have contacted customers whose information was on the stolen device.

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"The security and confidentiality of our client information is of critical importance to Ernst & Young, and we regret any inconvenience or concern this incident may have caused Hotels.com and their customers," Ernst & Young said in a statement.

Expedia spokespeople didn't immediately return calls seeking comment on the data theft.

The Hotels.com customer data breach is the latest in a string of high-profile incidents in which well-known organizations have seen their public images tarnished by embarrassing mishandlings of consumer data.

In May, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs reported that the personal information of as many as 26.5 million veterans was exposed after a break-in to an employee's home.

This article was originally published on 06-05-2006
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