‘Criminal activity’: Oakville couple raising alarm after PC Optimum account hacked three times in one year | #computerhacking | #hacking


An Oakville couple is telling shoppers to keep an eye on their reward points after their PC Optimum account was hacked, not once, but three times in the past year.

Paula Schillaci, 62 and her husband Thomas Wakaruk, 71, say trouble started Sept. 24 when someone used points on their PC Optimum account to purchase baby formula in Georgetown.

“Every time that I go to the Superstore, I always check my balance. I checked and I was supposed to have like 250,000, and all of a sudden, I’ve got 10,000,” said Schillaci.

“We called, and PC Optimum investigated and refunded us the points.”

When she asked why someone would hack her PC account to buy baby formula Schillaci said PC officials told her people engaged in these activities will buy items that can be easily sold for a quick profit.

Schillaci and Wakaruk said they followed the company’s advice and changed passwords associated with the account.

Despite this action, Schillaci said their account was hacked again on Oct. 3, with someone using their points to purchase items at a store in Milton.

Schillaci said once again PC Optimum investigated, refunded their points and advised Schillaci and Wakaruk change their passwords.

Once again, the couple says they complied only to have their account hacked a third time on May 24.

This time, Schillaci said, the points were redeemed at a store in Quebec.

“We weren’t even in Quebec at the time,” said Schillaci.

“This is criminal activity, and this could be happening to a lot of people.”

She says each time, the fraudsters used the PC Optimum mobile app to access the couple’s account and make their purchases.

While Schillaci and Wakaruk’s points have since been refunded, Schillaci says she wants this to stop and fears for others who don’t notice their points have been stolen.

When asked what PC Optimum is doing to safeguard their customers from this type of hacking, Loblaw Companies Limited, which operates the PC Optimum loyalty program, said they take privacy and security very seriously.

“We conducted a full investigation into the matter and our customer support team has resolved the issue and awarded the missing points,” said Loblaw Public Relations in an email statement.

“With regard to the past matters with this account, we worked with the customer each time to reinstate any missing points and helped them with resetting their email on the account, which could be the source of the latest issue.”

Halton Police Media Officer Const. Steve Elms said Halton police encourage victims of such incidents to contact police.

“Although PC Optimum may report it to us as well, it does not hurt for the individual to contact police and file a report,” he said.

“It is also a good idea to contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to keep them apprised of the scams and frauds that are occurring in our area.”

While Lisanne Roy Beauchamp, acting call centre manager at the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, said they are aware of this type of scam, she noted it is hard to say how widespread it may be, as it falls within the centre’s larger categories of identity theft and identity fraud.

Beauchamp said residents should be wary of phishing scams in which fraudsters attempt to solicit possible password information.

She also recommended against storing all passwords in one location, like a mobile device, in case that device is compromised.





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