Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Email Aggravation AT&T Style

My email account has been hacked. Someone somewhere has discovered my password and is sending out spam from my account. I've run all the virus scans I can find, I've changed my password twice, and every time I think I've solved the problem, it happens again. It happened again yesterday as a matter of fact.

So this morning, I got up and I had an email from AT&T telling me that they think my email account has been compromised and so they had disabled it until I change the password. They included a phone number to call if I had any problems changing my password.

So I went to their website and tried to change my password. I had to answer the security questions I had set up YEARS earlier when I first got the account. It then advised me that it would email me a temporary password to allow me to log in so that I could access my account.

But of course, I couldn't access my account to get the temporary password.

At this point I decided to just use the phone number they had so helpfully provided. Talking to a real person is always preferable to arguing with a computer. I called the number and was told pretty quickly that I needed to call a different number. "But this was the number in the email I was sent telling me that my account has been disabled. This is the number I'm supposed to call for help."

I still had to call a different 800 number. I got through to a real person and explained the situation. She wanted to know my phone number. I gave it to her. She couldn't find it in the computer. I've had this same email address and cell phone number for seven years, with AT&T the entire time. They've never heard of me. I was transferred to the email department.

The email department wanted to know what my zip code was when we lived in Kansas. I scrambled around for a minute, found it, and moved on to the next security question: Who is my favorite singer?

I wracked my brain trying to think of who my favorite singer was seven years ago. Or would it be Kerry's favorite singer seven years ago? Which one of us initially set up the account? The lady started giving me hints, "It starts with a T." "It sounds like it's a group name, not a person's name." I finally figured it out. Then they wanted to know how much our phone bill was when we lived in Kansas. There was no way I could remember that, and I found the question irrelevant, I got angry, and I got transferred to another department.

The dial-up department only kept me for three minutes before transferring me to the Uverse department. They immediately informed me that they couldn't find an account for me. I got out my last bill and read my account number off. Nope, no record of that account number. "I've been paying this bill with this account number for seven years, how can you not have any record of it?" She finally told me she thinks my account number is something else entirely and transferred me to mobile services.

Mobile services told me they'd never heard of me. They could find nothing under my email address or phone number. I gave them the account number the last representative had given me and they told me that my last name had the last three letters dropped off and added a "y". I told them I was looking directly at my phone bill which had my name spelled correctly and had my freakin' account number on it right next to the words "account number". I was transferred to another department.

I forgot to notate which department I was transferred to, but it didn't really matter, as I was transferred over to the land line department after that. But this time, they didn't give me a person, I was connected to a machine which didn't think I was answering its questions. It kept saying I was not responding, and then it disconnected me.

I called one of the 800 numbers I had been given earlier and got a real person again. She promptly told me that they could not change my password. I pointed out to her that they had already changed my password which was why I couldn't get into my email. "But we don't have the ability to change passwords on this type of account," she told me.

"Apparently you do," I responded, "As you already did it and sent me an email telling me you did it." Not one person I spoke with denied the fact that they had disabled my account, but they were all very adamant about their inability to change it back. She gave me a different phone number to call.

I tried that and finally got someone who was able to help me. So after forty-five minutes, seven customer service representatives, two automated machines, and being put on hold at least five times, and disconnected once, the problem is temporarily solved.

Does anyone have the phone number for Verizon?


  1. Holy cats, what a mess! We went through similar issues with our AT&T email account a while back and finally just gave up and disabled the thing. Gmail is a great way to go for email - we really like it. Sorry about the mess though. Hope you get it straightened out!

  2. Hi Amy, I can't apologize enough regarding the experience that you just explained to get this resolved. I am a Social Media Manager with AT&T. Please send me an e-mail to with "Mama On The Move" in the subject line. This will allow us to make sure it gets added to the proper case I have opened regarding this matter. I would like you to provide a good contact number that I can reach you at in order to get the specifics of what took place (actual phone numbers called, names if you remember any, etc.) in order for me to see if there is something within our process/procedures that we can alter to keep this from happening to you and others in the future. I am in the office Mon - Fri 10am - 7pm CST. I look forward to hearing from you. Anthony AT&T Social Media Manager