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How AwardWallet helped me notice my Tesco vouchers were stolen

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I was, yet again, the victim of Tesco Clubcard points theft last week.  My bacon was saved by AwardWallet, the points and miles tracking service that I use, which I tend to recommend to HfP readers if they have multiple frequent traveller accounts to manage.

I was first notified that something was up last Saturday.  I ran my regular daily AwardWallet refresh on my iPhone and it checked the balances of all 39 miles and points accounts that I store with it.

A notification popped up that my balance of unused Tesco vouchers had dropped by £50.  I thought this was odd but it was the weekend and we were away in Germany with friends so I ignored it.  Tesco restricts access to your Clubcard account when it spots you are outside the UK so checking would have been difficult.  I also didn’t have my card with me to get through the new security system which requires partial card numbers.

I had forgotten about it by Monday, by which point I was back in the UK.  When I ran another AwardWallet update on Monday morning, however, it showed another £50 drop in my unspent voucher total.

I logged in to the Tesco website and it turned out that both vouchers had been spent at the Metro on Kensington High Street, about 1.5 miles from where I live.  It is a shop I have never visited.

It turned out that both vouchers had come from the May 2015 mailing.  I then realised that I never actually received my May 2015 Tesco vouchers.  Because I never use the paper vouchers – I usually shred them on arrival as my redemptions are always online – I had never noticed their non-arrival.

It looks like someone from the Royal Mail got lucky, taking my clearly marked Tesco envelope out of the sorting system and then finding it had a three-figure sum of vouchers inside.

(The Royal Mail runs a fabulous security system.  A friend of mine once had a credit card stolen during delivery. Despite having CCTV footage of his postman using the stolen card in a shop, they refused to take action.  The credit card company also chose to take no action.)

I must give full credit to Tesco for reinstating the stolen vouchers overnight despite the fact that I could easily have been trying to rip them off.  They will have taken a loss here, especially as the postie wised up on the second transaction and did an in-store Clubcard Boost to get himself £100 of goods for his £50 voucher.

You can find more information on AwardWallet in this article from March.  It is a totally free service although if you pay $10 every 6 months for the premium version you get more information on expiry dates and the iPhone and Android apps are far faster.  For premium users the app checks all balances simultaneously whilst for free users it checks one account, waits for the result, moves onto the next, waits for the result etc …..

Comments (44)

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  • John says:

    But of course your friend’s stolen credit card doesn’t, like similar thefts (and pretty much any online fraud) appear in the crime statistics, which suits the police and politicians.

    The relaxed attitude of stores/banks is harder to understand. They seem to treat fraud on a huge scale as a routine business cost – I’m assuming Tesco can’t claim insurance for your stolen vouchers – but ignore the massive loss of consumer confidence in their retail offer (cards, loyalty schemes etc)

    • Rich says:

      Certainly does NOT suit the Police. The Police have seen massive cuts and are restricted as to what is investigated, tightly controlled budgets too.

      I had my wallet stolen by an Eastern European female on the train between East Croydon and London Bridge, but again it was only recorded as lost as I couldn’t prove it stolen, this despite it being a quiet train with good cctv……

  • Al says:

    Why don’t you ask Tesco not to send you hard copy vouchers, since you never use them in-store?
    You can do that under your voucher preferences in your Clubcard profile online once you are back in the UK

    • bob says:

      Excellent, I was about to ask if that was possible, on the case right now then 🙂

    • Rob says:

      That would be sensible, it is one of those things that I never got around to doing ….

      • Thomas says:

        Has anyone received any bonus point coupons recently ?

        • Chris says:

          Not for about three months now

          When they release their latest results last week they did say they were now less reliant on short term couponing.

          Looks like they have stopped or atleast slowed for the time being. I was getting bonus points and money off ones twice a month until around Easter.

          • Rob says:

            There was a good little story in the results you might have missed. Fruit and veg sales were up sharply.

            The reason is that, under the old management, the store manager got a higher bonus if he had a low level of ‘waste’ (ie thrown away food). Managers would therefore under-order fruit and veg to minimise the chances of any being left at the end of the day and having to be chucked, which literally cost the manager money.

            Now that the bonus scheme has changed, you have a change of finding some fruit and veg in a Tesco if you wander in late at night!

          • Aeronaut says:

            Not sure I like the idea that food wastage is going to go up as a result.

            The perception, propagated by the supermarkets, of the bountiful ever-availability of food comes at the cost of a awful lot of waste.

  • Marsha says:

    Can I ask how you know it was the postie?

    • bob says:

      Has to be, assuming postman would never put a letter through the wrong door

    • Jon says:

      I once received the wrong Tesco voucher booklet. I opened it without checking name/address as I assumed it was mine. When I saw £££ vouchers I double checked as I wasn’t expecting that much. The actual person’s address was several miles away. I phoned Tesco who cancelled the vouchers I had and sent her new ones.

      I can only assume postie had removed the letter for ‘further inspection’, but had to put it hurriedly down in any pile when someone else turned up.

    • Rob says:

      As they were used near my house it is difficult to see how else they could have got into circulation, unless a neighbour got them by mistake and decided to spend them – but that is unlikely a) because of the road we live on and b) there are a lot of Tesco stores far nearer our house than Kensington.

      • RK says:

        I once received from Tesco about £300 of clubcard vouchers in someone else’s name in the same envelope as my own vouchers. Wonder if that could have happened here. (To be clear, I did not spend the vouchers I received in error)

  • Jason says:

    I had a similar situation, although, I didn’t notice it through award wallet initially as I just happened to go into my account and noticed my balance had dropped by over £300.
    It turns out they were damaged in the post and like, raffles I hadn’t realised I’d never received them. Tesco replaced the vouchers, they’ve been added to my account, and I asked not to receive them by post in the future as what happened to raffles seems an obvious threat to me, however they still posted them out and I have received them.
    Re:award wallet – I have the version where I used the voucher, for recommendations to upgrade, is there a quicker version than this one as the version I use doesn’t seem that fast.
    I have started using it more after this episode 🙂

    • xcalx says:

      Re:award wallet – I have the version where I used the voucher, for recommendations to upgrade, is there a quicker version than this one as the version I use doesn’t seem that fast.

      I have the paid version that claims to be premium and have noticed that over the last 3/4 weeks the update speed is painfully slow using laptop and not much faster on iPhone or Android.

      • Rob says:

        Just run the app as an experiment. It did 38 of 39 accounts (for some reason it has trouble with one of them) in almost exactly 2 minutes.

        • Simon says:

          There seems to be an increasing trend on some sites to use additional security information at login to stop automated logins (eg type in the numbers you see in a picture etc). Both Rewardwallet and Tripit are having problems with my best western account which has started using additional picture verification so it might have something to do with that?

          • Jason says:

            Just run award wallet and it did 8 out of 9 accounts in just under 2 mins. I always get an error with 1 account, not necessarily the same one each time.

        • xcalx says:

          I just ran the App on iphone 85 of 86 accounts in 8min 36sec and fully 86/86 in 9.44 AW used to be so much quicker than this I can remember it taking around a minute a while back.

          • Rob says:

            Are you on a free or premium account? As I said above, it is usually around 2 minutes on my premium account. Frankly, for the sake of £1 a month I’d pay them!

          • Alan says:

            It takes about that long for me too (around 50 accounts, on premium plan too) – IIRC it’s sadly because their Android app is about as slow as the website, it’s only iOS that has the fast update capability 🙁 (still a great website, but wish it had a better app for Android!)

          • xcalx says:

            Premium. I send $10 everytime I receive an email telling me a my account is due to expire.
            OT. In the post this morning I received my Qantas gold card expires 28/02/16. I had changed my address details (from NZ to UK) online shortly after applying. The address on the box had a label covering the NZ one. Always nice to have the physical card. The way the bag tags were boxed had me thinking they were headphones.

          • Rob says:

            Interesting. Need to decide if I should change mine back.

  • Flyingbee says:

    Don’t Tesco require you to present your club card when spending vouchers? The supermarket that I use in France scans your loyalty card when you use vouchers as a security measure. It’s many years since I had a Tesco card so don’t know the system.

    • John says:

      This comes up a lot but the answer seems to be that, weirdly, any Clubcard (even unregistered temporary paper cards Tesco used to leave around the checkouts) can be presented with the vouchers.

      The cash registers apparently aren’t programmed to reject vouchers presented without matching Clubcards, which explains why any card will do.

      Tesco clearly need to upgrade their systems rather than simply removing the.temporary cards from stores.

      Agree about Royal Mail issue (lots of temp/agency workers there now) but given scale of problem, wonder if there isn’t an issue within Tesco’s own fulfillment operation.

      Their failure to get this under control is really damaging to their brand (as well as costly).

      Curious as to whether Boots, who load points onto advantage cards directly face any fraud issues.

      • Andy says:

        North West supermarket chain Booths require you to have the corresponding membership card to use their vouchers. Staff do the checking instead of the till itself, though this does mean you can’t use them with the self-checkout machines.

    • Rob says:

      Sainsburys insist that you must have used your Nectar card in that store previously before you redeem credit. Don’t think Tesco has such a rule.

  • Mark says:

    You can access your Tesco no. on Award Wallet if you do not have it on you in person Raffles. It is saved in the account details.

  • Jonathan says:

    OT, but does anyone have a view of Corsair and their business class offering?

    I’m looking at some of their flights on an A330 out of ORY Paris.

    Thanks in advance.

  • bob says:

    Reports: 500 points when you spend £60 (Groceries) are hitting targeted email a/cs

    • bob says:

      and today’s post brought 500 points for minimum 6 bottles of wine purchase from Tesco Wines, if you haven’t got it, let me know. I’ll just order first then circulate 😉

      just in case it’s a one-off but looks generic

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