Scammers target customer loyalty programs

The scam starts with consumers receiving a text message or email stating their loyalty points are expiring.

Scammers target customer loyalty programs

Know how to protect your reward points – and your identity – from cybercriminals.

Chances are, you’ve signed up to at least one customer loyalty scheme – maybe Coles’ Flybuys or Woolworths Everyday Rewards. 

Nine out of 10 Australians have membership to at least one loyalty program, though on average, we are members of four different programs 1

This popularity hasn’t escaped the attention of scammers. 

Consumer watchdog, the ACCC 2 , says a new text message scam is targeting customers of loyalty programs run by large, well-known Australian companies.

So far, the crooks have focused on customers of Qantas Frequent Flyer, Telstra and Coles loyalty programs. 

However, ACCC Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe warns that any loyalty program could be impacted by this type of scam.

How the scam works
The scam starts with consumers receiving a text message or email stating their loyalty points are expiring.

The text or email includes a link to a fake website, which prompts customers to login. Customers may also be asked to provide credit card details in order to use their loyalty points.

If you take the bait and click on the link or provide card details, the scammers can steal your loyalty points. 

But something far more valuable is at stake. 

Scammers may also steal your login details and personal information to use on other platforms and commit identity fraud.

3 steps to protect yourself
This scam works by panicking consumers into thinking that their hard-earned points are expiring soon. And, as Australians face cost of living pressures, more of us may be susceptible to fall for the scam.

Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself without worries about losing your points.

Follow these 3 steps to keep scammers at bay:

1. Delete or ignore any message regarding a loyalty program that contains a link
2. Don’t ever click on a link included in a text message
3. Use the reward program’s app or website to check on the status of your points. Do not use contact details provided by the text message or email.

It’s reassuring to know that additional action is being taken. 

The National Anti-Scam Centre has contacted the companies that have been impersonated by scammers and is working with web host providers to have the fake websites taken down, to minimise harm to consumers.

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Last updated: 15 February 2024

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