Kohl's (KSS) Cash isn't only popular with the department store's customers; it's also a sought-after reward among some criminals.
The cash-reward program provides a $10 cash coupon for every $50 that customers spend at the chain, and consumers can then redeem the Kohl's Cash during certain weeks set aside by the company. But customers may want to be aware of a new scam involving the rewards, which was highlighted by the security blog Krebs on Security.
The scam involves thieves hacking into a consumer's Kohl's account and ordering products through their stored credit card. While the products are shipped to the consumer, the scammer -- who now has control of the Kohl's account -- asks for the Kohl's Cash to be emailed to them. Because Kohl's Cash can be returned for gift cards, that makes the rebate especially appealing to scammers.
In the case highlighted by Krebs on Security, the victim was surprised to learn that scammers had ordered bulky items such as three baby cribs, a car seat, and a stroller system, but there's a reason for the strategy. Bigger items are more of a headache to return to stores, which means that the criminals are banking on their victims taking a while to ship back the fraudulently ordered items. That, in turn, provides the scammers with more time to redeem the Kohl's Cash.
Kohl's didn't immediately return a request for comment.
In a separate incident, one consumer wrote on her blog that she received a large Kohl's box late last year, and was surprised to find 11 men's dress shirts inside. She checked her Kohl's account and saw that almost $500 had been charged to her account, which created $90 in Kohl's Cash. She ended up closing her online account and canceling her store card, while the company stopped the Kohl's Cash.
In the first instance, the victim was alerted to the scam when she received an email from Kohl's saying her account information had changed. After logging in, she discovered the scammers had ordered almost $700 worth of bulky items.
While it's unclear how the victims' accounts were broken into, both incidents highlight the need for consumers to have strong passwords, as well as to get into habit of updating their passwords regularly. On top of that, storing credit card information online can make it easier for fraudsters to engage in a scam, so concerned consumers may want to skip that step at retailers' sites.
This isn't the only scam to hit Kohl's Cash. Last month, a computer engineer from New Jersey was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison after creating a computer program that swiped actual Kohl's Cash numbers. The engineer and his wife, who stole almost $600,000, were caught after some customers complained they weren't able to redeem their Kohl's Cash.
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