Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Store loyalty points

Most people these days are aware of getting loyalty points which are used to lower the cost of gas. That’s great if you have a car and buy gas.  Loyalty points do nothing for a person who uses public transportation.  I sometimes borrow a car for things I can’t carry on a city bus.  Before I return the car I use my loyalty points to put gas back into it.

Food and kitchen 2015 607

Have you ever forgotten your loyalty card at the gas pump and used your phone number instead?  Using your phone number makes it convenient for you doesn’t it?  Well using a phone number also makes it very convenient for thieves to steal your points. Thieves are using random phone numbers to buy gas using someone else’s points.

Almost every phone number has some type of loyalty points these days.  If the phone number they choose doesn’t work the thieves simply change to another random phone number.  Or if they know a family that buys lots of groceries and the family’s phone number they will use that. Sometimes the thieves get lucky and use a random number with lots of points. Even just a few points is a bargain for the thief because they aren’t out any money to earn the points.

I know several people who have had their points stolen.  I’ve had it happen to me.  I was putting gas back into a car I was returning when I found out my points had already been used.  But I knew I hadn’t used them.  I blamed the machine and I blamed the card. When I was home again I called the customer service who apparently have cameras on the gas pumps.  The person told me what the thief looked like, what location the points were used, and the day & time.  I didn’t know the thief and I was not getting gas at that time.  I was at a baby shower at that time.  Nope, wasn’t me or anyone I knew.  The customer service put the points back for me and gave me an extra 15 days to use them.

Anyway, I wanted you to be aware how easily fuel points can be taken.


6 comments on “Store loyalty points

  1. sarasinart
    September 8, 2015

    I don’t use gas points but thanks for this info, cos I had no idea a phone number could even be used.

    • Na Na
      September 10, 2015

      Some loyalty points can be used in other ways too.

  2. Nathalie
    September 8, 2015

    Thanks for the heads up! I confess that I never thought of people using random (or seemingly random) phone numbers to steal loyalty points but I guess that’s an easy way for them to steal something. Grrr.

    It’s a good thing you encountered good customer service and that they credited the points back to your account! After all, it was their fault for designing a system whereby people can easily steal from loyal customers.

    I use loyalty cards all the time but I don’t redeem the points for gas. I redeem them for free food. For instance I use the Walgreens Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices program to track my exercise and my weight and in exchange I earn points towards rewards that I redeem when I buy eggs and cereal (on sale and with coupons) at Walgreens. I use the CVS Extracare product for the same purpose (eggs, cereal, nuts when they’re on sale, I have coupons, and better yet, when they earn me bonus Extracare Bucks).

    Walgreens requires you to enter your zip code to validate the redemption of the reward (I’d rather they require ID since, if someone got a hold of your phone number, they probably have your zip code too, it’s not that hard!) and CVS requires that you have the printed Extracare Bucks and that you present the corresponding loyalty card and they have to match (the Extracare bucks won’t be deducted if they’re coded to another card than the one you present).

    The other loyalty cards I use give me discounts on merchandise that I would use anyway. I earn Fuel Points at Winn Dixie when I shop there, which isn’t often, but I never redeem them these days since I have to gas up at Shell stations, where the gas is much more expensive than at Racetrac, where I do gas up. Racetrac prints surveys on each receipt and when you take the survey, you get a freebie. For the past 2 months it’s been free food. SInce we gas up 2 cars, I get free food every week, but I have to turn in my receipt with the code on it to get it so unless someone stole my coupon organizer, it’s pretty safe.

    • Na Na
      September 10, 2015

      I haven’t shopped at Walgreen or CVS for a long time. I stopped because their prices with sale and coupons was still higher than other stores. I really should check their prices again. I’ll give them another try this month. I get Kroger points because I get my medication there.

  3. Frugalwarrior2
    September 8, 2015

    interesting food for thought. I guess I think it would be quite the coinsidence.
    If you have point you dont want many charities can use them too. I have always done well getting amt off coupons from Kroger for Kroger fuel and Kmart/Neimans groc. for .10-.30 off and stacking.
    Mulling what you said-only a few area codes per area. So what if you hooked the points to a cell phone number.

    • Na Na
      September 11, 2015

      That’s still a phone number. Anyone can randomly choose a seven or ten digit number out of their head. I don’t believe stealing points has caught on much yet. It might get worse in the future. I was informing my readers that it could happen.

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This entry was posted on September 7, 2015 by in FRUGAL SENIOR, JUST THINKING and tagged , , .

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