jfruh writes: Starbucks inspires loyalty among its heavy users — so much so that they're willing to connect their Starbucks gift cards and phone apps directly to their credit or debit cards, auto-refilling the balance when it runs low. But this has opened up a hole hackers can exploit. Writing about the scheme journalist Bob Sullivan says: "The fraud is a big deal because Starbucks mobile payments are a big deal. Last year, Starbucks said it processed $2 billion in mobile payment transactions, and about 1 in 6 transactions at Starbucks are conducted with the Starbucks app. Maria Nistri, 48, was a victim this week. Criminals stole the Orlando women’s $34.77 in value she had loaded onto her Starbucks app, then another $25 after it was auto-loaded into her card because her balance hit 0. Then, the criminals upped the ante, changing her auto reload amount to $75, and stealing that amount, too. All within 7 minutes."