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First, I'm very sorry if this is not the place I should ask this, but it seems to be the best choice.

My Aol email account was hijacked during the night two days ago : the password has been changed (obviously), but also the recovery/alternative email adress, and worst, the security question.

I called one of AOL services, 1-800-827-6364, located in the USA, and after twenty minutes, Alex, the hotline guy, told me that it was impossible to do anything, because I wasn't able to answer the security question. (Obviously, it's not mine). So clearly, I will never be able to recover my account, which i'm a bit sad about it, but whatever.

Isn't it some kind of security lack that some guy is able to connect to your email account, and is able to change your alternative email without sending some link to it before confirming the change ? I want to have you guys' opinion about it. (And by the way, if someone has a solution to offer, I'll take it happily !)

Fun fact, I received on my alt adress a mail just before the drama (but it was 04 AM) :

Our records show that the password on your AOL account was reset. If you did not make this change, or would like to view your changes, please sign in to account.aol.com."

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    I sugguest you leave aol in the 1990s and make a gmail account and setup 2 step auth first thing. – VenomFangs Jun 7 '15 at 17:13
  • @VenomFangs Yes, that's what I already done, but I was still using that aol account for some not really important things. By the way, AOL double authentification is not so good. It seems that it only send SMS to American phone numbers. – Yadasko Jun 7 '15 at 17:17
  • You should still investigate that how your account got hijacked. Maybe some one used keylogger, maybe someone used phishing attack, or some one guessed your password..?? If you can find this out then you can prevent this to happen in the future. Simply changing to other email service is not the best solution. What if it happens again. – ρss Jun 7 '15 at 19:48
  • @Yadasko - call up AOL and ask for a supervisor and explain the situation to them. I suspect you can make some progress at getting the account back. – Neil Smithline Jun 7 '15 at 22:36
  • Yadasko, were you ever able to make progress with this? – Kevin Fegan Nov 14 '16 at 16:32
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Isn't it some kind of security lack that some guy is able to connect to your email account, and is able to change your alternative email without sending some link to it before confirming the change ?

Yes. Some systems delay the change of secondary email from being effective in order to allow a legitimate owner to recover it, but most systems simply allow it and instead rely on detecting after the fact that it was indeed stolen in order to reassign it.

It is often painful to get them to do that. You would expect them to have a log stating that the password, secret questions and recovery email were all changed 2 hours ago, and that you have access to the secondary email (eg. by providing the timestamp they sent it).

Maybe the user scripts they are using are simply not prepared for this eventuality, or their first tier support is unable to recognise a compromised account. See the article of the "Epic Hacking" suffered by Mat Honan for a number of failures by Apple customer support.

(And by the way, if someone has a solution to offer, I'll take it happily !)

  • Try to get someone brighter than 'Alex' to handle your issue. Request your call to be escalated.

  • Report the account theft to your local police.

    • The existence of a police report should increase your odds of being taken seriously.

    • The police may request AOL the connection info from which the account was stolen (probably a dead end, though).

and of course the sooner you act, it's more likely they will believe you, and harder that their logs "already got deleted".

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Yes, it would make a good deal of sense to send an email about the change to the old alternative address. It should also tell the reader how to alert AOL to any problem.

As an aside, have you let people know that your account has been hijacked?

  • Yes, I told them that the account has been hijacked, but the only answer I was able to get was : "If you can't answer the security question, there's nothing I can do, since we can't confirm you are the owner of the account". I think I will call back today, and ask for a supervisor. Maybe he will be able to do something if I provide some more details. – Yadasko Jun 8 '15 at 6:43
  • Ah, no, I meant the people you use the account to contact. One of the possible reasons for stealing an email account is to send messages in another person's name: For example, to disrupt their business or personal lives. – Grizzled Jun 8 '15 at 6:46
  • Oops. Yes, I've sent to (nearly) all my contacts a mail explaining the situation. But to be honest, I think the thief needed this adress to access to some online accounts but nothing too serious. – Yadasko Jun 8 '15 at 6:56

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