One of the best department store rewards deals around is Kohl's Cash.
It's so great, unfortunately, that scammers love it too . So when it comes to Kohl's rewards, the key phrase might be "use it or lose it."
Where are my rewards?
Amy Pratt loves Kohl's, but with two young kids she can't always get to the store in time to use her Kohl's Cash rewards.
"They used to let you use it even if it was expired, and then lately they've not." she said. "I've tried to use it before, and they said they no longer accept expired Kohl's Cash."
With Kohl's Cash -- if you're not familiar with it -- you get a $10 cash rebate when you spend $50, during promo times several times a year (especially during holiday season sales).
But its not really cash. It's more of a coupon, and you have just a few weeks to use it (typically two weeks, according to the store).
Shoppers report two frustrations: one, missing the deadline for using their Kohl's Cash. And two, their rewards disappearing.
Evelyn Sten had a $12 Kohl's rebate loaded onto a Visa debit card the store provided her.
But, she says, "when I tried to spend it, it wouldn't go through. When I tried to access the information on the back of the card, I found out the card had been totally spent."
At first, she thought the store had deducted part of the $12 rebate each month, as some prepaid debit cards do. But Kohl's says it does not.
It appears someone got into the account and used her rebate before she did.
Reports of Kohl's Cash theft
News stories from across the country report vanishing Kohl's rewards, and a New Jersey couple was arrested and plead guilty in 2015 of stealing $600,000 in Kohl's Cash from other shoppers' accounts. Yes, $600,000.
The website Krebs on Security says hackers have found creative back doors to order products for people and pocket their Kohl's Cash, then spend it immediately.
Here's how the scheme works: A crook hacks into your Kohl's account, then orders expensive items. But they're not after the merchandise, they're after the Kohl's Cash.
According to Krebs on Security, many hackers use the Kohl's Cash to buy items that can easily be resold. Sometimes they buy items with Kohl's Cash, return them and pocket the store credit.
So how can you protect your Kohl's rebates?
- Don't wait, use them in a week or two.
- Change your password often on your Kohl's account.
- Keep an eye out for any notifications from Kohl's that your email address or password has been changed.
- If any rewards are missing, call customer service.
We're happy to report Kohl's quickly replaced Evelyn Sten's rebate.
Now she no longer waits to use her rewards.
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