Alright guys, today’s post is kind of intense but necessary IMO. I feel like I need to share my experience with you all because it was truly stressful, and I don’t want anyone else going through what I did. A few weeks ago, I went to Rhode Island with my family for vacation and was having a blast until I found out that my Expedia account was hacked. I got an email from them saying that my account address was changed from firstname.lastname@example.org to PrinsShirloufo@yahoo.com and panicked. As you can see below, there was an option to change it back so I did in a total frenzy.
I managed to change it back to my original email (I don’t know where email@example.com came from BTW), but my hacker (aka Omar M.) had already altered my personal info and used my points (about $120 or so) to fund his or her stay in a cheap hotel in Xiamen, China. FYI: I have two accounts on Expedia, and I couldn’t remember which one had payment info saved so I freaked out and called my credit card company to cancel everything right away. I had my parents do the same since they had also purchased tickets & trips through my account – better safe than sorry, right?
In addition to booking a hotel in China with my points, “Omar M.” used other cards to purchase trips to Hawaii and Cancun, and I was freaking out because I assumed they were stolen. Even though it wasn’t my money on the line, it was under my account, and I didn’t want to be associated with fraud in any way, shape or form.
I called Expedia for help and a young lady picked up. To my dismay, I ended up spending a good 50 minutes with her on the phone. Apparently, they couldn’t get in touch with the hotel? I was beyond upset so I asked her to also cancel a package that I purchased on their site not too long ago (on my second account) because I just couldn’t trust them. She managed to cancel my hotel but mentioned that there could be a fee for canceling the rental car I had reserved. I had no patience left at that point so I told her to call me back after everything was taken care of and if there was a fee, Expedia should & would absorb it. She assured me that she’d take care of everything and call me back…
…but I never heard back from her. So I called back and spoke to a different representative only to find that nothing was cancelled. Luckily, rep no. 2 was much better at her job – she cancelled my upcoming itinerary and closed my Sensible Stylista account but couldn’t shut down the hacked firstname.lastname@example.org account because I gave her “the wrong phone number.” Wrong phone number is in quotation marks because good ol’ Omar changed the number to something random – it’s probably not even a real number but whatever. I exasperatedly hung up because I was in the car and couldn’t pull up info without creating a hotspot with my cell. So, after creating my hotspot, I wrote down his number and called back…only to find out that they couldn’t close it because Omar had upcoming trips on the account.
I was so so SO beyond upset at this point. I had spent the entire morning dealing with this nonsense, and I felt helpless because they just wouldn’t deactivate my account. I asked to speak with a manager several times, but they all seemed to deflect when I requested to speak with a supervisor. I finally hung up and tried again on a different number – I pretended to be a happy customer in the hopes that it’d help me get in touch with someone with more clout in the company. It took a good 40 or so minutes, but I finally got transferred.
I explained my situation to the manager on duty, and he didn’t really sound apologetic which I found puzzling, but at that point, I didn’t care. All I wanted was a closed account so I didn’t think anything of it and just begged him to shut it down for me. He assured me that email@example.com was no longer in the system, but I wasn’t convinced since I could still see Omar’s info on my computer screen. He didn’t really offer any assistance when I said I could still see it? So I asked him to stay on the line with me while I tried logging back in. Luckily, my password + email combo was no longer working so I sighed in relief…but that relief didn’t last long because as soon as I got off the phone with him, I checked my email and found this.
The reason he couldn’t find my account is because my wonderful hacker changed it to yet another email address. Words eluded me at that point! I just didn’t understand why they weren’t able to see the changes on their server. I seriously didn’t have anything else left in me, and I couldn’t bear to spend another minute on the phone because I knew my efforts would be futile so I turned to social media for help. I expressed my frustration on twitter and heard back from them within seconds. They apologized and asked me to DM them. I felt a glimmer of hope at that moment, but no dice.
They told me they’d get back to me on the issue, but they never did. I decided to just let it go and hope for the best since I had already changed all of my credit cards, but then I got this message in my inbox.
I really wish I could update you guys with good news, but it’s been radio silence ever since so I have no idea what’s going on – hopefully everything worked out in my favor? Who knows. I’ve used tons of different travel sites in my lifetime, but I’ve never experienced anything as “difficult” as this. I’ve been hacked before (twice on Bank of America), but they rectified everything quickly so it was never an issue – this experience, on the other hand, was beyond draining, and I’m still afraid that things aren’t resolved. It was definitely sad because I was a loyal customer for years.
Honestly, I’m shocked that my Expedia account was hacked so easily and even more shocked that they seemed so cavalier about it all. The threat of identity theft, fraud and all that good stuff is REAL, and I want companies to take it as seriously as I do. Needless to say, I’ve taken my business elsewhere, and I recommend you do too. I will NEVER use Expedia again, especially since Costco Travel has such awesome package deals, and they got your back all day every day. Anywho, I’m sorry today’s post was such a downer, but I really just wanted to share my experience with you guys. I hope it’s somewhat helpful and serves as an important reminder to you all. Sending hugs from SF!