Keeping An Eye On Your Online Accounts (Delta Hack)

On Tuesday, I got the dreaded “We have frozen your account due to potential fraud” email from Delta. At first, I thought that it was simply spam but, after trying to log on, I realized that it was the genuine thing. No problem. Most companies would send a password reset to the address on file and/or have you call in to give a security code.


My password is back there somewhere

Delta, however, is not most companies. There are two reasons that they would lock your account: They thought that somebody had defrauded you, or that you had “defrauded” them by selling miles. It took me six phone calls to find out that I was the former. Over the next two days, I spend about 90 minutes on the phone with six different Delta representatives, trying to figure out how to reset my account. Not only did they not know how to fix it but the people that they called internally often didn’t know how to do so, either. Finally, we determined that I needed to fax (Who faxes anything anymore?) a copy of my driver’s license to the SkyMiles department. At first I was told that it would take a day to reset. Then 5-7 days. Then 7-10 days. I’m afraid to call them anymore, since they’ll probably extend the deadline until the next decade.

I don’t begrudge Delta trying to protect my account. What I am upset about, however, is that they don’t have a standard policy, time frame or knowledge base to pass on to the customers, not to mention the fact that the password reset mechanism is so cumbersome. For a company in 2018, neither of those faults is excusable.

So What?

Normally, I wouldn’t make too big a deal about one password hack, since it has become so sadly commonplace. But this does not appear to be an isolated case. I was told by two of the representatives that I spoke with that I was not the only one experiencing this issue, which is consistent with what Flyertalker Leew wrote in a post indicating that a lot of people had been affected.

So here are two suggestions that may help you avoid the time that I have spent getting to know Delta’s phone reps:

  • Change your Delta password. Now. I have no idea as to the extent of the problem, but it does seem to be at least somewhat pervasive.
  • Don’t use the same password from account to account. If you use all the same passwords/emails, somebody who steals one of them will be able to try them on all of your accounts. It’s a royal pain in the neck, but it’s becoming increasingly necessary.


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