• April Canavan Robbed of $1,000 in Optimum Points

April Canavan Robbed of $1,000 in Optimum Points: A Digital Heist


April Canavan Robbed of $1,000 in Optimum Points: A Digital Heist

Some lowlifes straight up jacked $1,000 in Optimum points from this chick. Here's the deal to keep your points safe: use some bomb-ass passwords and flip on that two-step verification to lock down your loyalty points stash.

So, peep this: when April Canavan's inbox got straight up flooded with emails back in December, she knew she was in deep. Homegirl found herself getting spam from mailing lists she never signed up for, plus emails saying she just cashed in her PC Optimum points at a grocery store way the heck across the country.

In like, 25 minutes flat, these scammers dipped with around a grand worth of points from her account. And that whole spam tactic? Straight-up shady move to throw her off their scent.

But April was already in full freak-out mode 'cause, as she told Cost of Living, she was saving those points to cover Christmas. "So then it was like, 'OK, so how am I going to afford Christmas now?'"

April Canavan Robbed of $1,000 in Optimum Points

Now, fraud's been messing with points collectors for a grip - PC Optimum had a whole mess of it back in '18. But lately, it's making a comeback, especially after Scene+ dropped the news in January that there'd be new rules for cashing in points at the grocery joint.

As more peeps get their online creds jacked thanks to data breaches, this issue's getting hella tricky to solve, says one expert. And since loyalty points can straight-up turn into cash money, they're like a goldmine for thieves.

"When it comes to the loyalty points game, it's getting real," says Kevin Lee, the trust and safety VP at a fraud-busting company called Sift.

April Canavan Robbed of $1,000 in Optimum Points

Lee points to his own phone, stacked with apps, each with its own points hustle, from flights to burgers. "With all that action, it's prime territory for crooks to swoop in and cash out."

How they do it? Well, there's two main ways these baddies snag your points.

First off, some folks are slackin' on the password game, using the same weak sauce password everywhere, explains Lee. So if your password's something like "Password1234," it's like an open invitation for these clowns to roll through all your accounts.

April Canavan Robbed of $1,000 in Optimum Points

"The fraudsters just keep trying different passwords until they hit the jackpot."

Then there's the data breaches. Even if you got a tight password, if a company you rock with gets hacked and your deets get leaked, you're still screwed.

PC Optimum's peeps say they've been seeing less fraud lately, mostly 'cause folks are stepping up their security game.

"They're reminding peeps that their points are cold hard cash, so treat 'em like your bank deets," says Lee. Plus, they're dropping tips like using two-step verification on your emails, never clicking shady links, and getting a password manager.

April Canavan Robbed of $1,000 in Optimum Points

Two-step verification's key - it adds that extra layer of security, making it way harder for hackers to get in.

Now, Rosalind Ashe ain't sure how thieves got into her Scene+ points last fall. Homegirl was busy grindin' at work and hadn't checked her loyalty program email in a hot minute.

When she finally peeped it, she saw she'd just cashed in 11,000 points at Montana's. But she ain't even into chain restaurants like that.

She hit up Scene+ pronto and peeped her account, seeing a bunch of redemptions she didn't make around the GTA.

"They were dropping bills, like, $100 at a time. Hitting up movie theaters, grocery stores - one spot, they dropped $500."

April Canavan Robbed of $1,000 in Optimum Points

Ashe tried to sort it with Scene+, but they were giving her the runaround. Eventually, her bank, Scotiabank, came through and sorted her points out.

But she's still worried about peeps who don't have the time or energy to fight for their points back.

"Everything's getting pricier. If you got $800 in points you could use on groceries, that's huge."

Scene+ and Empire, which owns places where you can cash in Scene+ points, say they're all about protecting their customers. They're preaching good password habits and telling peeps to keep an eye on their accounts.

Now, Lee says AI could be the game-changer. Companies could use it to spot shady activity, like if your points are getting spent in some far-off place.

April Canavan got her PC Optimum points back, but not before having to swipe her credit card for her daughter's Christmas gifts. Now she's all about that two-step verification life and says everyone else should be too.

"If you're stacking points or putting your card details out there, lock it down with all the security you can."