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Business Owner Said Hacker Stole Her Credit Card Reward Points In A Growing Scam

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Have you checked your travel rewards or credit card points?

One local business owner said someone hacked into her account and drained not her funds, but her reward points.

CBS 2's Tim McNicholas talked to an expert who said it is a kind of fraud that is on the rise during the pandemic.

It's not easy to run a business right now – let alone one that offers hands-on services. But Teri Calandra is doing it.

"This is one of the treatment rooms which is also utilized for acupuncture, massage therapy, energy medicine that I practice," she said as she showed her facility.

Calandra said things got even tougher last week, when she realized someone had hacked into her Chase Bank account and drained about $600 worth of rewards points.

"There were a few choice words that were muttered," she said.

Calandra called Chase and they said they are in the process of restoring her points. She is hoping she gets them back soon.

"So I could have taken those points and put the $600 towards the things that accumulate on that credit card, which are things like utilities, supplies, and so forth," she said.

Thomas Johnson of the Better Business Bureau said this story is not a surprise.

"No, it really isn't, because we're hearing more and more of this," he said.

Johnson said fraudsters sometimes collect gift cards with the points and either shop with them or sell them at a discounted rate.

"It seems like it's really picked up during the coronavirus pandemic because people aren't traveling, points are building up, and people aren't checking their accounts as often," Johnson said.

That means it can take longer for victims to realize their points are gone. Calandra said she checks her points often, and that's not all.

"I change passwords. I have good virus scan. I have all of these protections in place," she said.

But she still found herself in multiple phone calls with Chase trying to sort out the fraud.

Chase said Calandra did everything right, and they are encouraging customers to keep a close watch on their points and to report anything unusual as soon as you notice it.

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