Nfld. & Labrador

Steve Kent preaching security after Aeroplan points stolen

Steve Kent knew something was wrong when he logged into his Aeroplan account over the weekend.

Flights booked in Halifax and Montreal without his knowledge

Steve Kent says people need to change their passwords regularly and take more security precautions online. (Sherry Vivian/CBC)

We all know it can be difficult to book an airline ticket on points, but a familiar face in Newfoundland and Labrador politics had someone steal his to plan their travel.

Mount Pearl's chief administrative officer Steve Kent knew something was wrong when he logged into his Aeroplan account over the weekend.

Two separate flights had been booked from Halifax and Montreal using his points — without his knowledge, or permission.

Kent, a former P.C. member of the House of Assembly, tweeted about it and said it's clear that someone hacked his account.

"It's easy to speculate but at the end of the day, I do know who these people are, Aeroplan knows whose visa was used, so from a fraud perspective it should be really easy to find out who did this," he said.

Kent estimated the fraudsters used about 80,000 of his points to book the last minute tickets. He called Aeroplan, but as of Wednesday, the points still hadn't been put back on his account.

Change passwords 

He expects to get them back, but said that his experience is a good reminder to take cyber security seriously.

"It's a real message to consumers that we need to change our passwords," said Kent.

"There's now things like two-factor authentication on some websites, there's actually password managers that you can use to help prevent some of this."

Meanwhile, the two women whose names were on the tickets likely came away empty handed.

"There's two ladies disappointed I would say when they got to the airport on Sunday and Monday and didn't get to fly," said Kent.

"Hopefully people will be held accountable and hopefully I'll get my points back too."