Yahoo Search Marketing Security Breach! Seriously– Check Your Account NOW!

YAHOO Customer Care– Does Not Care! Imagine coming home after being to a movie, or out shopping, and as you turn the corner that leads down your street to your home, you see a strange vehicle in your driveway– a moving van! As you get closer you see a man who is built like a football linebacker carrying out your belongings to the van. He is a very large man, so you obviously do not want a personal confrontation. So you pull over, across the street from your home, and call 911. When the call is answered, you are confronted with an automated recording asking you what department you would like to reach. But none of the choices you are presented with offer any help from your home being burglarized. So you hit the number that represents “neighborhood relations” in hopes that you can speak to a real person to explain the emergency that is taking place right in front of your eyes.

You are then asked for your name and your address, so the automated operator can verify that you live at that address, I assume. After punching in the obligatory numbers that represent this information, the recording responds that, not only don’t you exist… but neither does your home address exist! You try again, and again, and get the same response from this bloodless, non-caring automated recording. Then finally, after re-entering the same information a couple of more times, you get confirmation that yes… you do exist, and so does your address. You think to yourself, finally– I can give the emergency information to a living, breathing person. But no… you are told to email the police Customer Care Department, (see where this is going?), with what your problem is, now that they know that you are real; and someone will get back to you within twenty-four hours.

Since this is an emergency, you know that will do little good, so you hang up. In the meantime, this guy who’s built like a football linebacker, is walking down your driveway, and lifting your safe, which is filled with your money and jewelry, into the van. You freak out, and call Information for another phone number to reach the police department. You are given three numbers. You dial them all and they have all been disconnected! You start to wonder if there even is a police department anymore. Has some group of “foreign football linebackers” come in and taken over the city?

You glance over at your home, and now the “foreign football linebacker” is emptying your neighbor’s home of valuables! You phone them to warn them, but they don’t answer their phone. You are not given an opportunity to leave a message for them, as they don’t have an answering machine. What if they come home and unknowingly are confronted with this “foreign football linebacker”? There is nothing else you can do for them except tell the police.

You desperately try other phone numbers to reach the police department, and speak to a number of different departments–each one forwarding you to yet another department. You tell them what is presently happening, and that it is an emergency, and they respond with, “I’m so sorry to hear that”, but they can’t help you.

You finally reach another living, breathing human being, and explain what is happening– that these “foreign football linebackers” are now emptying yet another neighbor’s home. You are once again told that they are “so sorry to hear that”, but they can’t help, and that it is a “security” problem. No kidding! You begin to imagine that what seems like living, breathing human beings on the phone are actually robots that were programmed to be, “so sorry to hear that”.

You ask this new robot for the phone number of the “Security Department”. The response– “Oh, the Security Department doesn’t have their own phone number”. Then, “you’ll have to email them and they will get back to you within twenty-four hours”. You hang up and turn away from your computer terminal in disgust. The calendar on your office wall catches your eye. It’s September tenth. Could it be a conspiracy that will come to fruition on 911, yet again? Have you been drawn in early to some computer take-over with an army of “foreign football linebackers”!

You ask the next person who answers your call to be put through via an internal line to the Security Department, after explaining once more that your home and that of your neighbors’, is being emptied by some “foreign football linebacker”. They can’t do that, but will put you through to someone else who can help you, if you are willing to hold for a minute. You hear a “click”, and another recording comes on telling you that your call is in line, and that there will be at least a ten-minute wait. As is their hope and design, you hang up.

Back to The Real World: I finally dial the last of some half a dozen numbers for Yahoo. It’s their Yahoo Media Relations phone number found through a Google search. Surely someone will be there– even if it is 5:15 pm PST, and 8:15 pm local time.

After hearing the ring on the other end of the phone answered, it turns out to be a recorded message from the same– Customer Care Department. “Would you please provide your name and address, so that we may help you?” After providing the information yet one more time, it is acknowledged that I do exist, and that I should email Customer Care with my problem and that someone will get back to me within twenty-four hours. I yell into the phone that I need to speak to a living, breathing soul, knowing that there is no one there to respond. I hear a click and a dial tone.

Over three hours have now passed. I’ve worked through dinner, and my wife is as upset as I am at this point. So I decide to send Yahoo Customer Care an email. It goes like this:

My Email to Yahoo Customer Care: My account has been compromised! There have been changes to my account regarding daily spend limits and average monthly spending that I did not make. There have been unauthorized withdrawals from my PayPal account of ,000 into my Yahoo Search Marketing account. There have been people added to my account with their credit card numbers and other information listed. One is Ken —-, Pittsburgh, PA (VISA). And there was another person from out west, Oklahoma I believe, whose information I didn’t print out while I still had access to my account. This, after receiving emails from Yahoo on 9/1 and 9/2 that my Yahoo Marketing account has expired. I can no longer access my account as of a couple of hours ago. I’m assuming that my password has been changed. I’ve received notification emails from Yahoo since then of other credit cards being charged amounts of 0.00 and ,000.00 on card numbers that I do not recognize… Thank God! I have tried phoning Yahoo for the last THREE HOURS and have been given the run-around, even after telling their people that there was a breach of security, that my account had been accessed, and the rest of what was happening. I was told that there is no phone number for the Security Department at Yahoo, and I’d have to email them! I have reference numbers of 958-8875 and 958-8917 from Yahoo phone personnel to document my contacts with them. And finally, after over three hours, I ended up being sent to the first number I had called… 886-562-7219 YAHOO CONSUMER CARE. There, I was asked for my account number again by an automated voice, and promptly told to email my problem, and I would be contacted within 24 hours!!!

I will be sharing this fun activity with the rest of the Internet world. I just feel sorry for the folks who were added to my corrupted account, and who will probably have their credit cards emptied… all because nobody at Yahoo cares enough about security to give “SECURITY” their own phone number to call when a breach is suspected… or in this case… FOUND and VERIFIED!

It is now 9:00 am on September 11, 2009. I have just checked my email for a response from Yahoo—there is none. I tried accessing my Yahoo search marketing account, and am denied access. In bold, red letters it says: “An error occurred during login because you have not been granted access to any accounts.” So as I promised them in my email, I am about to start distribution of my story in hopes of saving and helping some other Yahoo Search Marketing users. I do keep one eye on my driveway now—watching out for “foreign football linebackers”.

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