Home Money Sainsbury’s is now telling customers to go to the POLICE to investigate stolen Nectar points…

Sainsbury’s is now telling customers to go to the POLICE to investigate stolen Nectar points…

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Nectar fraud: Scammers target some Sainsbury's customers and use their points

A Sainsbury’s customer who lost £230 Nectar points to scammers was directed to police for call center staff to investigate even though it was not a recordable offence.

Loyalty cards have become increasingly necessary since supermarkets introduced member-only pricing.

Some customers spend years saving them to accumulate a healthy pot to make a big purchase or spend on Christmas.

Nectar fraud: Scammers target some Sainsbury’s customers and use their points

Nectar, which launched in 2002, is one of Britain’s largest loyalty programs.

Each Nectar point is worth 0.5p, so to save £1 on Nectar points, customers will need 200 of them.

Suki tends to save her Nectar points to spend at a big box store every 12 to 18 months.

He had accumulated 44,300 Nectar points, worth around £230, before receiving an email stating his points had been spent at a store in Fallowfield, Manchester.

She says she tends to shop in Wilmslow or Macclesfield and Sainsbury’s in Fallowfield is not nearby.

When she contacted Sainsbury’s to explain what had happened, her Nectar account was updated with the 44,000 Nectar points that were spent at Argos.

Then, in late April, he was told that Nectar’s “specialist investigation team” had “been unable to identify any signs of fraudulent activity” and the refunded points were removed from his account.

But Suki insisted she did not shop at the Fallowfield store nor had she spent the points.

Instead of investigating the issue again, Nectar instructed Suki to contact the local police station.

Nectar, which Sainsbury’s bought in 2018, has been beset by fraud issues, but little appears to have been done in a world where many financial firms, for example, now use an extra layer of security in the form of two-factor authentication.

This Is Money first wrote about the scam in 2017, but a look at social media suggests the problem dates back to 2011.

More recently, This Is Money wrote about a Nectar customer, James*, who, after spending just under two years accumulating points, had £370 worth of points taken away from him by fraudsters.

The account showed two small transactions in Hackney, east London, and three larger ones at a petrol station in Enfield. The client lives more than 100 miles away, in Gloucester, and was not in London that day.

Like Suki, Sainsbury’s told her to refer the matter to the police, rather than dealing with the problem itself.

When James tried to report the scam to Action Fraud two days after the event, he was told the police could not investigate.

He was told that it was “not a police-recordable offence” and that he could only register an offense in the name of the person or organization defrauded (in this case, Sainsbury’s).

This directly contradicts what Sainsbury’s told Suki, so This Is Money got in touch to ask what their policy was.

However, he did not clarify whether customers should contact local police.

Cheshire Police said victims would be advised to contact Action Fraud in the first instance.

Action Fraud did not respond to a request for comment.

It still doesn’t explain how Suki, and many others, got their cards used without their knowledge.

We asked Sainsbury’s how customers are being scammed and what measures they had in place to prevent further fraud.

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It said: “The security of our customers’ accounts is of utmost importance and we have a range of measures in place to help us detect and, in many cases, prevent fraud.”

‘Scammers are becoming more sophisticated and use a variety of tactics.

‘As I’m sure you understand, we can’t go into detail about the types of fraud we’re seeing or share more specific details about the systems and processes we have in place for obvious reasons.

‘While fraud cases affect a small proportion of our 18 million cardholders, if a customer suspects they have been a victim we recommend they contact the Nectar Helpline team who will investigate fully .

‘In the first instance, we review the account to identify any unusual activity, such as completed trade-ins for items outside of your normal purchasing behavior. If we find this, we will refund the points and if it is not so clear, we will investigate further.

‘Regarding (Suki), we have contacted her to apologize for her experience and arranged to refund her Nectar points to a new account. We’ve also added a goodwill gesture for the inconvenience.’

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