ATT / SBC ISSUE: Archived inbox and sent mail not accessable

Submitted by Jeff Buster on Thu, 04/17/2008 - 15:44.

On Monday, April 15, 2008 when I went to open my SBC webmail account, I got a message that said that “I had stumbled on a temporary yahoo problem”, and that I should be patient and check back later to see if the problem had been cleared. 


When I checked back about a half hour later on Tuesday morning my mail account did open, but what I noticed immediately is that there were zero items in my Inbox. .  I do not use Outlook Express or Outlook – I had not downloaded the messages onto my computer.


Since it has been my policy to leave copies of all my email on the yahoo server (so I can access them from any geographic location) I knew that I had at least several thousand – to three thousand emails in my in box.  So when I saw “0” in the inbox, I clicked to refresh and see if any mail would load.  After the refresh there were 2 emails in my in box,  I clicked on one of the emails and a message came back saying that the email had been deleted.  I had not deleted it however.


I sent an email via the yahoo help contact explaining my problem. 

On the morning of the 16th I got a telephone call from India and the tech support fellow tried to work me through any possible modem (speedstream 5100), wireless router (belkin G plus),  Outlook Express, Outlook, or other possibilities.  


Coming up blank the tech fellow from India connected me to Josh a US tech rep.  


Josh and I went through a  brief discussion and Josh announced that I had been “popped” – that my email password had been hacked and that someone had gone into my account and deleted all my inbox and sent mail archives. 


Josh told me that there was no backup of any of these messages on the SBC/yahoo side and that there was no way to get any of the messages.  I didn't believe that, if only because homeland security and the pedophile chasers would need records.


I asked Josh if there was a record of the IP numbers of the log-ins to my mail account – could the hacker be tracked.  Josh said no logs were kept by SBC/yahoo.


Josh said that I should immediately change my pass word. 


Now concurrent with all this lost email and breached password was a paypal transfer which I had had underway for the last few days.  The details of that wire transfer - which begins with the transfer of a small amount of funds – and the apparent email deletion events in my email account -  made me believe that not only had my email account been breached/hacked, but that information in my emails had allowed someone to also breach the bank account where the paypal deposit was to be transferred. 


Before paypal puts money in an account they will sent very small amounts of money to the account and then ask via email for you to confirm by email the exact amount of the small deposits to prove that it is your bank account   I had seen the two small transfers in the bank  account – but the full amount of the paypal transfer was also in the account – and I had not sent paypal any email confirming the small amounts.  So, Josh having told me that my email account had had its password taken, and seeing the full amount of the cash transferred into the bank account, made me think that someone else had used my email account to send paypal an email confirming the two small deposits exactly (say 14 cents and 34 cents).   If whoever had hacked my email could confirm these penny amounts, then they also had to have accessed my bank password, etc. too.

So I had to go and immediately close that bank account and open a separate account and cover all the outstanding checks.

Later in the day in a telephone call to Paypal I was told that the small penny transfers were not confirmed by anyone by email and that paypal had sent the full cash transfer anyway.  So it was Paypal’s reverse "cry wolf" practice of sending small cent deposits and asking for confirmation – but then sending the full amount anyway without confirmation – that really escalated my concern over the deleted/unavailable sbc/yahoo emails


This was shaping up into a real mess.  


But I was beginning to think Josh was wrong about both being popped and no logs or archives being kept by ATT SBC yahoo.   Josh gave me the email of a higher up tech who I emailed. 


That tech fellow, named Bo, called me back last night at 11:00pm.  Bo said that I had not been popped, and that my password had not been breached.  (I don't know why he knew this)  We went through OE, Outlook, router, modem, and looked in email sub accounts, etc. without finding where the lost emails were.


And right at the end of our hour long session Bo found an in house engineer’s tech notice that announced that SBC archives would be unavailable due to tech service on them.


I am writing this  up because I would like to allow others to see this issue and I would like to find out if other SBC yahoo clients have had a similar experience over the past few days.   If you have had a similar recent experience, please hit the contact realneo link and explain your issue.


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Is online security an oxymoron?  I know that nothing is private any more and there really is no such thing as a "secure transaction."  You commented on this fiasco in response to Bill Callahan's post and it has me wondering what's going on locally to provide "safe" access to digital resources.  Why do some organizations belong to One Community, and others, like CMHA, don't? 

Yahoo not ready for thousands of messages?

While looking for something else, I stumbled upon this other fellow with symptoms similar to yours: going from thousands of email messages to much fewer. His thinking is that Yahoo wasn't quite ready for users to keep all of their email in a single mailbox.

Did your issue ever get resolved?