Two different readers have written in this past week to complain about having their Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty accounts hijacked by scammers. The spike in fraud appears to be tied to a combination of password re-use and the release of tool that automates the checking of account credentials at the Web site for the popular travel rewards program.
A number of readers have complained recently about having their Hilton Honors loyalty accounts emptied by cybercrooks. This type of fraud often catches consumers off-guard, but the truth is that the recent spike against Hilton Honors members is part of a larger fraud trend that’s been worsening for years as more companies offer rewards programs.
Many companies give customers the ability to earn “loyalty” or “award” points and miles that can be used to book travel, buy goods and services online, or redeemed for cash. Unfortunately, the online accounts used to manage these reward programs tend to be less secured by both consumers and the companies that operate them, and increasingly cyber thieves are swooping in to take advantage.