Crime: Careful, there's nothing cheap about loyalty


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The Independent Online

On last week’s edition of Stewart Lee’s Comedy Central stand-up comedy show, The Alternative Comedy Experience, deadpan Scottish stand-up David Kay joked about how he didn’t want to have his identity stolen as he was worried about losing his Tesco Clubcard points.

It was a gag, but Kay’s fears weren’t – it appears – unwarranted. The Daily Mail reported that the supermarket had called in police to help investigate claims. Tesco told us that the missing points only affect around 30 of their 16 million Clubcard users but suggested cardholders ought to check their accounts and let the customer services team know if they’re concerned. Fair enough.

Other loyalty schemes to be abused in the past include a scam by 10 workers at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (who operate the province’s beer shops) – they’d been swiping their own Air Miles cards instead of customers’. Shoppers at Sainsbury’s Chippenham store also found themselves on the wrong end of loyalty fraud, when an employee was caught switching the Nectar cards of customers with lots of points for blank ones. Another Sainsbury’s IT worker was jailed in 2011 for stealing more than 17 million Nectar points, worth £81,000, from made-up accounts.

Reward point theft may be a fairly new phenomenon, but as Up In The Air’s loyalty fiend Ryan Bingham would tell you, there’s nothing cheap about loyalty. It’s it’s probably worth checking yours isn’t being taken advantage of.