Canada

Cineplex reports fraudulent activity as Scene card holders lose thousands of points

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Published Sept. 28, 2019 8:39 p.m. ET
People make their way up an escalator at the Cineplex Entertainment company's annual general meeting in Toronto on May 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

TORONTO -- Lisa Raby’s Friday night at the movies was ruined after noticing all 10,000 points she’d collected on Cineplex’s rewards program were suddenly gone.

“That's a hefty bit of cash that helps me get out of the house without spending tons of money,” she told CTVNews.ca, adding that she’d also been locked out of her Scene rewards account.

When she took to Twitter, she noticed she wasn’t alone -- dozens of people had reported losing thousands of points over the past week.

In a statement, Cineplex said it noticed “fraudulent” activity within its loyalty rewards program. The company did not say how many users had been affected or how its system had been compromised.

“In recent weeks, (Scene) has identified some patterns of attempted fraudulent redemption activity in certain markets across Canada,” Cineplex executive director of communications Sarah Van Lange told CTVNews.ca.

She said the company decided to freeze people out of their accounts to protect its customers. Van Lange added Cineplex would begin issuing new Scene card numbers and barcodes to some members beginning Saturday.

“Points balances will be automatically transferred with these new card numbers,” she wrote.

For many users CTVNews.ca spoke to, they felt the company should have gotten out in front of the issue more proactively.

“I know they're overwhelmed, but I think Scene should be doing better with trying to get back to people,” Raby said.

Tyson Dueck, who temporarily lost 19,000 points before getting them back on a new account earlier this week, agreed that the company should have done more.

He told CTVNews.ca that Cineplex “should have jumped on it immediately.”

Jason Thomas said his account had been suspended twice in the past year and said that Scene still had a lot to answer for.

“Did someone gain access to all of these accounts? If not, how was someone able to cause all this ‘unusual activity’ on so many accounts that it necessitates Scene shutting down what sounds like everyone's accounts?” he wrote.

“So. Many. Questions.”

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