After his Xbox Live account was stolen, Josh had to file a Better Business Bureau complaint in order to make MIcrosoft pay attention to him and restore his account access. After three months, he was delighted to log back in to his account, but surprised to learn that he had been banned for a “code of conduct violation.” What did his account do to get banned? It was trying to steal other accounts. Imagine that.
A friend recommended I share my terrible experience with my Xbox live account getting hacked as you’d written some about the recent rash of hackings and Microsoft’s lackluster response to the problem.
I’ve written a blog post on Cheapassgamer.com. But the gist of it is as follows.
My account was stolen and migrated to Russia on October 25th, and 1200 points were spent. I reported it immediately to Microsoft, but nothing had happened for over 2 months. As such, in late December I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, and finally got a call from an Exceptions Analyst with the Microsoft Corporate office in response to the complaint.
He got things moving and I got the e-mails confirming the investigation was over and I could recover my account in less than a week. At first I was thrilled that the process was over after 3 months of being locked out of my account. However, I then noticed another e-mail saying my account was permanently banned for a code of conduct violation. I got the run around over this past weekend with phone support and the Xbox Live Policy Enforcement Team’s Suspensions forum, and just had to file another unauthorized access claim to have them look into what the hacker had done to get my account banned.
I called up the Exceptions Analyst again on Monday when he was back in the office to get more info. He said the file indicated that the policy enforcement team had ruled that the violation happened before the account was reported as stolen, and thus banned it. The violation was using the account to try to steal other accounts! So obviously these hackers are stealing accounts and then using them to steal other accounts to cover their tracks. The analyst believes me and says that’s probably what happened and forwards the case back to the Policy Enforcement Team for review, though he warns me that he doesn’t have any direct contact or influence with them. A day later he calls me back and informs me that they ruled that the ban will stay in place. Since the hacker had my Windows Live ID and Password, they apparently have no way of knowing when my account was compromised before it was migrated to Russia on October 25th, and the violation that got the account banned happened before that.
So now my account is permanently banned, and I thus lose all my DLC and XBLA licenses, and can’t play my game saves online on other gamer tags and so on. All because of the Policy Enforcement Teams absurd zero tolerance tactics, and unwillingness to listen to reason. It’s not complicated to realize that when a stolen account was banned for trying to steal other accounts, it was the hacker doing it before the user realized the account was compromised and reported it to Customer Support. I’m a 33-year-old college professor, not a Russian hacker!
Anyway, at this point I don’t even want any compensation from Microsoft, and have in fact already traded in the 360 and switched to PS3 as I just can’t support Microsoft anymore after how I was treated after being a victim of a hacking. I’m simply hoping your site will publicize this experience so Microsoft gets some negative PR and has to change their practices. I don’t want other gamers to go through the same experience that happened to me.