Hackers Steals Money By Using Starbucks App

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Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz holds up a Starbucks Card as he speaks to shareholders at the company's annual meeting of shareholders in Seattle, Washington March 23, 2011.
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz holds up a Starbucks Card as he speaks to shareholders at the company's annual meeting of shareholders in Seattle, Washington March 23, 2011. Reuters/Robert Sorbo

The new modus operandi of online thives is hacking customers' Starbucks accounts. The Starbucks cards that can be automatically reloaded can be compromised by hackers once they got all the private information such as username and password.
 
According to the exclusive report of independent consumer reporter Bob Sullivan, by getting the Starbucks account information of the SB consumers, hackers can access consumers’ linked credit cards. Sullivan advised SB consumers to immediately disable auto-reload on the SB mobile payments and gift cards as online thieves can get access quickly through their gift cards.
 
One of the victims is Maria Nistri. Hackers were able to steal her US$34.77 [$43.53] remaining balance in her Starbucks card, as well as the US$25 that was auto-loaded into SB account from her American Express card. They then increased the auto-reload amount to US$75, then swiping that amount as well. The total amount they took was $134. 
 

The victim added that it only happened in just seven minutes. Before she figured out that her balance was stolen, she received an automated email at 7:11 am, saying that her username and password had been changed. She did not change her account details. She called the call customer service but the operator couldn't answer until 8:00 a.m. 
 

“I don’t know why Starbucks would recommend people do auto-reload when this crime is so easy,” the victim said. The SB app allows easier transaction of balances from one gift card or let the customers combine balances from multiple cards onto a single card. However, once a hacker controls a victim's SB card, he can transfer all the balances reloaded from the card to their own SB cards.   

 
According to the report of Today show, Sullivan was the first one who noticed the hack attack. Sullivan wrote, "The fraud is a big deal because Starbucks mobile payments are a big deal."
 
The company released a statement about the online hacking. It said, “We take the obligation to protect customers’ information seriously and have safeguards in place to constantly monitor for fraudulent activity, working closely with financial institutions like all major retailers."
 

Last year, the coffee corporation processed US$2 billion through mobile payment transaction. There is one in six transactions conducted with the used of Starbucks app.
 

 
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