Thursday, April 12, 2012

Xbox Fraud Investigation Team struggles to solve case of "why should we care?"

Recently, The Xbox Investigation Team has convinced me that they are staffed with hamsters in Sherlock Holmes costumes. Perhaps with magnifying glasses taped to their backs.

I say this because I recently brought to them an open and shut case, one that could easily be solved by leaning over slightly and pressing the enter button. Perhaps that was too much for Xbox. Perhaps they were too busy investigating why my Skyrim character is hurtling 50 feet in the air while trying to cross over a stream. Perhaps they are stuck on the hamster wheel and their magnifying glasses are caught in the spokes. I'm no expert, but I'm sure that is more believable then what ever it is they actually did.

We're on the case!
We're on the case!

The story starts while I was syphoning carbs and gravy into my gullet on Thanksgiving like a true American. I was chilling out with my family, miles from home and having a rather good time. In the middle of watching Joe Flacco and Alex Smith battle over the title of most mediocre quarterback, I get a call from home. Turns out our home was broken into, and everything that was cool was stolen, but all least all the crappy stuff was left behind.

At least they left my Nick Cage Collection
Nick Cage, no one will ever take you away from me.

So we sleep for the night, then made our way back as soon as we could. When we arrived, we talked to Officer Friend (To quote him, “Officer Friend, as in, Best Friend!” - This is your PSA that cops can, in fact, be awesome). We ran through the whole ordeal. Our items were replaced, one by one. We were finally able to play the Christmas presents I bought for my significant other, a couple of Xbox games. Perhaps the thief was worried about us wasting our time during the holidays. C'mon, let me think that for a little longer. I'd rather have that thought than the feeling of being violated by some asshole who rifled through and took our stuff; and has my personal computer files.

Last week, months after our Xbox was stolen, we turn it on to play some video games from the 90's, because that's what adults in 2012 do. Upon starting it up, I notice a little dialog pop up saying “This Xbox Live Account has been logged in from another console.” I ignore it, cause I make it rain Xbox 360s.

Make it rain, I make it rain.
Make it rain, I make it rain.

Once logged in, I noticed all my account information has been changed. My avatar now has a slick-ass white suit, my icon has changed, and all new activity has popped up. A laugh is shared by us. This idiot is using my account, what a tool. Then it all simultaneously dawns on all of us.

My God.
My God.

This is it, this is our in. If this was the show Bones, then we just found a pile of Bones. We can catch our bad guy! Sure, the guy playing my account is probably not the thief, but we are a step closer. I immediately get on the phone with Xbox support. They seemed rather helpful, telling me that my account would be temporarily locked, and their investigation team would be start a case. Any information they gleaned would be sent along to the police. They then had to spend some time telling me that it was not the characters from LA Noire who would be investigating. How disappointing.

I then spend the next couple of days on watching the “thief” play games using my account, which is a strange thing to do with a locked account. I then find an e-mail in my inbox saying that my attempted purchase of 400 Microsoft Points has been declined. I call back to add this little detail, and find out that nothing has been done, no investigation, no account-locking-action. Thanks guys, glad to know you're on the case. Credit Card fraud and using stolen goods are not really that important. Felony scmhelony.

So I then give them all the information againincluding my police case number, which has the stolen console's serial number and other information. My account was then properly locked, and the investigation started for reals this time.

So much to my chagrin, we receive the following e-mail a couple days later:

"We wanted to let you know that your report of unauthorized access to your Xbox LIVE account was reviewed by our fraud investigations team, and we didn’t find any evidence of unauthorized access to your account.
Our fraud investigations team also reviewed your billing history and didn’t find any fraudulent purchases. To check the charges on your Xbox LIVE account please see: Learn how to check your Xbox LIVE bill."


This is like going to the police with a fresh gun wound, and the detective's response is, “Nah you're fine. We sent a drone over the city and didn't find anyone. That gun wound must have been you.”

So I call back immediately. The man I talked to was audibly shaken, as I was less than happy. He explains that the Police Report Number was never written down, and that there was nothing he could do. The case was closed, and we lost. What is actually fraudulent activity, I will never know.

We are grossly disappointed in the way Xbox has handled our case. What could have been a great step in helping us to remember that not EVERYONE is a heartless, money-craved fool - especially in the wake of something as violating as a home invasion - instead was ended by Xbox's unwillingness to do their jobs.

I cannot for the life of me understand what would have lead Xbox to make a decision like this. But I do know that we will no longer be giving a penny of our hard-earned money Xbox.


  1. A similar thing happened to me, minus the whole house robbery thing. Someone got ahold of my LIVE account and racked up nearly $300 worth of MS Point charges on my uncles credit card (he was paying for it at the time.) and they told me that it was in fact me who bought all of those points and that they won't give a refund.

    Then, we called once again and my uncle actually talked some sense into them and that's when they decide to lock my account for about 2 and a half months and do their investigation shenanigans. Finally we get a call back from them saying everything is OK and everything has been refunded. I immediately took the card off my account and now if I want to play LIVE I just buy the prepaid cards.

    tl;dr Was playing CoD4, got into a bad lobby then got my account hacked and got charged alot of money.

  2. Same thing happened to me. Someone actually CALLED xbox customer support and they GAVE HIM my account without verifying any information. I have a security question set up and the dipshit customer support representative didnt ask for it. Also, there is no way this person could have guessed my security question since its completely random and made up. The person who stole my account changed the address/cc info/email/password associated with the account so he can gain access from there. Unfortunately when I called xbox customer support completely livid about the situation they simply said "sorry we cant do anything to help" just make a new @hotmail or @live account and tie it to your gamertag on the xbox and change your information manually from there. WTF. Worst customer service in the world.

  3. Why don't you ask police to subpoena this thief's IP from MS and then subpoena subscriber records from their ISP?

    Alternatively setup a sting operation from a friend's xbox account to try to get this thief's address or meet in person somewhere and have them arrested.

  4. Ignore mmx, you aren't trying to spend money on a lawyer's billing for a subpeona and this isnt worth all that. And a "sting operation" - this must be a cop show, lol, what a hoot.

    In the real world, you send an eecb (executive email carpet bomb). Follow the links and use their advice. They actually get results, unlike our teenage friend above.

    Here is the link to craft an EECB....

    Here are some addresses for MS execs...(you may want to recheck the accuracy of these first though)

  5. Thank you, J Period. That will be helpful, we'll take a look.

    You are correct: we spoke with the police immediately after seeing what was happening. They cannot contact Microsoft without
    Microsoft first contacting them and sending them some information. As the cop put it "anyone can say they are a cop and call to ask for your IP address. Microsoft has to make the first move." They want to help us, but they can't without Microsoft making an effort.

  6. Just had my xbox stolen so I feel your pain. Found this searching for help to track it down, haven't tried it yet but it might help you.