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FlyerTalk Forums Thread Wiki: Account audit / fraud issues - bartering, selling awards, miles / SWU / VIP, etc (con
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Account audit / fraud issues - bartering, selling awards, miles / SWU / VIP, etc

This thread is dedicated to issues around American Airlines Corporate Security, AAdvantage Fraud division (AKA "Revenue Protection Unit"), and its enforcement of the AAdvantage Terms and Conditions - particularly to selling, buying and bartering awards, miles, upgrades and other instruments - and related issues.

Older posts have been archived to the closed, archive thread.

A number of posts regarding AA's confiscation of 60,000 miles from "Mr. Hayes" for allegedly making "fictitious" bookings in search of whether his upgrade would be likely to progress or not, AA IT issues that might have led to this (or not), AA's replies and the USDOT complaint have been moved to a new thread: Hayes, USDOT and AA: "fictitious bookings" and checking upgrades.

The typical email from AA Corporate Security will look like this:

Quote:

My name is Fname Lname, and I am an analyst with American Airlines. One of my responsibilities is investigating possible instances of fraud, misrepresentation, and violations of the General AAdvantage Program Conditions. Today, I’m writing you about your AAdvantage account # XXXXXXXX

We have reason to believe that the transactions listed below violate one or more of the AAdvantage program conditions. This includes, but is not limited to, prohibition of purchase, sale, or barter of mileage credit and or award tickets. As a result, American Airlines has suspended your AAdvantage membership privileges and use of AA.com® in conjunction with your account – and may terminate your account as a result of our findings. We are in the process of completing the investigation into this matter, and I would like to hear the events as they occurred from your perspective. Please respond to this message by <date> with complete and accurate information regarding the activities listed below:

<specific activity /activities in question>

Required Information:·
  • Passenger name·
  • Origin and destination cities on the travel itinerary·
  • Purchaser name (individual, company and/or website), including:·
  • Copy of any advertisements to which you responded offering to purchase/broker the use of your AAdvantage miles·
  • Purchaser contact information, such as:·
  • Mailing address·
  • Email address·
  • Telephone number·
  • Website profile name·
  • Your statement fully disclosing the details surrounding the sale/barter transaction referenced above·
  • Copy of all communication between yourself and the purchaser·
  • Documentation that you received payment

To protect and retain the integrity of the AAdvantage program, it is vital that firm action be taken as a result of any violation of the AAdvantage Program Conditions, whether intentional or not. Failure to respond completely and accurately by <insert date>, will result in the termination of your AAdvantage membership and all its benefits, including all remaining AAdvantage miles in your account and any award tickets issued from it. Please, understand that our overall motivation is to preserve the benefits of the AAdvantage program, rather than to take punitive action against individuals. To that end, it’s not unusual for us to release the AAdvantage account suspension once we receive all the detail we request and reconcile it with the results of our investigation. We hope to hear from you soon.

Regards,

Fname Lname, etc.

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Old Mar 20, 14, 8:33 am   #1
 
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Account audit / fraud issues - bartering, selling awards, miles / SWU / VIP, etc (con

Received an email today:
"As an analyst with American Airlines of my responsibilities is investigating possible instances of fraud, misrepresentation, and violations of the General AAdvantage® Program Conditions. Today, I’m writing you about your AAdvantage account # XXXXX

We have reason to believe that mileage points reflected in your account summary violate the AAdvantage program conditions. As a result, American Airlines has suspended your AAdvantage membership privileges and may terminate your account as a result of our findings. We are in the process of completing the investigation into this matter, and I would like to hear the events as they occurred from your perspective. Please respond to this message by Mar 22, 2014 with complete and accurate information regarding the activity listed below:

Please provide proof of purchase and payment for the points earned in your account earned in 2012/2013 to present date associated with your Citi/AAdvantage credit card purchases.

To protect and retain the integrity of the AAdvantage program, it is vital that firm action be taken as a result of any violation of the AAdvantage Program Conditions, whether intentional or not. Failure to respond completely and accurately by March 22, 2014 will result in the termination of your AAdvantage membership and all its benefits, including all remaining AAdvantage miles in your account and any tickets issued from it that have not been used will be cancelled.

We hope to hear from you soon."
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Old Mar 20, 14, 8:37 am   #2
 
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I have opened and closed few Citi AA credit cards for bonuses, but I don't know if it could be a reason for this. I have a ticket on miles for March, 22 on Cathay for a friend.
Quote:
Originally Posted by al613 View Post
Received an email today:
"As an analyst with American Airlines of my responsibilities is investigating possible instances of fraud, misrepresentation, and violations of the General AAdvantage® Program Conditions. Today, I’m writing you about your AAdvantage account # XXXXX

We have reason to believe that mileage points reflected in your account summary violate the AAdvantage program conditions. As a result, American Airlines has suspended your AAdvantage membership privileges and may terminate your account as a result of our findings. We are in the process of completing the investigation into this matter, and I would like to hear the events as they occurred from your perspective. Please respond to this message by Mar 22, 2014 with complete and accurate information regarding the activity listed below:

Please provide proof of purchase and payment for the points earned in your account earned in 2012/2013 to present date associated with your Citi/AAdvantage credit card purchases.

To protect and retain the integrity of the AAdvantage program, it is vital that firm action be taken as a result of any violation of the AAdvantage Program Conditions, whether intentional or not. Failure to respond completely and accurately by March 22, 2014 will result in the termination of your AAdvantage membership and all its benefits, including all remaining AAdvantage miles in your account and any tickets issued from it that have not been used will be cancelled.

We hope to hear from you soon."
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Old Mar 20, 14, 8:45 am   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al613 View Post
Received an email today:
"As an analyst with American Airlines of my responsibilities is investigating possible instances of fraud, misrepresentation, and violations of the General AAdvantage® Program Conditions. Today, I’m writing you about your AAdvantage account # XXXXX

We have reason to believe that mileage points reflected in your account summary violate the AAdvantage program conditions. As a result, American Airlines has suspended your AAdvantage membership privileges and may terminate your account as a result of our findings. We are in the process of completing the investigation into this matter, and I would like to hear the events as they occurred from your perspective. Please respond to this message by Mar 22, 2014 with complete and accurate information regarding the activity listed below:

Please provide proof of purchase and payment for the points earned in your account earned in 2012/2013 to present date associated with your Citi/AAdvantage credit card purchases.

To protect and retain the integrity of the AAdvantage program, it is vital that firm action be taken as a result of any violation of the AAdvantage Program Conditions, whether intentional or not. Failure to respond completely and accurately by March 22, 2014 will result in the termination of your AAdvantage membership and all its benefits, including all remaining AAdvantage miles in your account and any tickets issued from it that have not been used will be cancelled.

We hope to hear from you soon."
There was a recent posting of something similar. I know some of the posts were deleted, but you might check it out, as it seems a bit similar.
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Old Mar 20, 14, 8:46 am   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaimito Cartero View Post
There was a recent posting of something similar. I know some of the posts were deleted, but you might check it out, as it seems a bit similar.
Thanks! Could anyone help me to find it?
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Old Mar 20, 14, 8:46 am   #5
 
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Deja Vu? The following thread may (or may not, depending on circumstances) be helpful.

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...celled+account
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Old Mar 20, 14, 8:55 am   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stargold View Post
Deja Vu? The following thread may (or may not, depending on circumstances) be helpful.

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...celled+account
Well, on the face of it, it sounds very similar to what happened in that thread, specifically the opening/closing of accounts for bonuses, although it seems the real problem in that thread related to miles that were earned on purchases that were subsequently returned/refunded but the miles never deducted.

Regardless, a note to al613, your only hope at salvaging the miles you have in your account as well as your "friend's" ticket on CX, is to fully cooperate with AA. But be warned, that it seems rare, based on situations discussed here on FT, that an investigation gets to this point and is resolved in favor of the accountholder.
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Old Mar 20, 14, 8:59 am   #7
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If FT is a tiny slice of life, it sounds as though AA has upped its game and is shutting down accounts where fraud is suspected, giving the target a chance to come forward, and then proceeding.

In the referenced thread, that OP's response to AA was to blame others, not provide what was asked for and he got the result he got.

Here, OP has a tough choice. Cooperate and he might keep his miles/status/account. Not cooperate, and the account is gone.

What is not clear is whether AA or the banks are or will pursue individuals for actual money damages. That is why the smart move is either to forget it and let the account go or to consult a lawyer before saying/doing anything.
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Old Mar 20, 14, 9:03 am   #8
 
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And it's deja vu all over again. For the OP, did you buy items/tickets which were later refunded. But the miles still remain in your account and were never taken back by Citi? And moreover, you did this with more than one Citi card? Then best of luck because that doesn't seem to end up well for others. But the key advice: do everything AA asks of you and adhere to their deadlines. These are their miles in their FF program. You don't own them.
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Old Mar 20, 14, 9:07 am   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al613 View Post
Received an email today:
"As an analyst with American Airlines of my responsibilities is investigating possible instances of fraud, misrepresentation, and violations of the General AAdvantage® Program Conditions. Today, I’m writing you about your AAdvantage account
As AAdvantage is still operating as a distinct programme, this question is being moved over to the relevant thread in the pre-merger American Airlines forum.

Please note the sticky at the top of the consolidated thread which is titled Welcome to the New American Airlines Forum! PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING. With all of the changes about, it is important to know where to post, and reading that thread before posting (as the title suggests ) will help get you in the right place.

~Moderator
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Old Mar 20, 14, 9:52 am   #10
 
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Sure seems like AA is cracking down on churning credit cards and manufactured spend. Not surprising given some of the things people admit to doing on some of the posts in milesbuzz and the credit card fora.

Interesting that AA is doing this as opposed to Citi from the credit card side.
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Old Mar 20, 14, 10:07 am   #11
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We don't know that Citi won't follow suit.

Because AA holds something dear to the individual, e.g. miles in an account, it's easier for AA to gather information and conduct an investigation.

It's entirely possible that AA will demand restitution for inventory spoilage and Citi for points/miles value.

That's why it makes sense to consult a lawyer first.
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Old Mar 20, 14, 10:22 am   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephem View Post
Sure seems like AA is cracking down on churning credit cards and manufactured spend. Not surprising given some of the things people admit to doing on some of the posts in milesbuzz and the credit card fora.

Interesting that AA is doing this as opposed to Citi from the credit card side.
When you refer to "manufactured spend", are you talking buying gift cards or are you more narrowly referring to a process where people make purchases, have miles credited and then return the purchases and cancel the cards? Two very different scenarios, both of which, I think, fall under the category of manufactured spend. Does buying gift cards violate the terms and conditions of either the Citi cards or the AAdvantage program? (I don't get why anyone has the right to object to this, unless Citi or AA has specifically forbidden it.) As to the other scenario, it wouldn't surprise me if AA and Citi crack down on it.
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Old Mar 20, 14, 10:22 am   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al613 View Post
Received an email today:
"As an analyst with American Airlines of my responsibilities is investigating possible instances of fraud, misrepresentation, and violations of the General AAdvantage® Program Conditions. Today, I’m writing you about your AAdvantage account # XXXXX

We have reason to believe that mileage points reflected in your account summary violate the AAdvantage program conditions. As a result, American Airlines has suspended your AAdvantage membership privileges and may terminate your account as a result of our findings. We are in the process of completing the investigation into this matter, and I would like to hear the events as they occurred from your perspective. Please respond to this message by Mar 22, 2014 with complete and accurate information regarding the activity listed below:

Please provide proof of purchase and payment for the points earned in your account earned in 2012/2013 to present date associated with your Citi/AAdvantage credit card purchases.

To protect and retain the integrity of the AAdvantage program, it is vital that firm action be taken as a result of any violation of the AAdvantage Program Conditions, whether intentional or not. Failure to respond completely and accurately by March 22, 2014 will result in the termination of your AAdvantage membership and all its benefits, including all remaining AAdvantage miles in your account and any tickets issued from it that have not been used will be cancelled.

We hope to hear from you soon."
Quote:
I have opened and closed few Citi AA credit cards for bonuses, but I don't know if it could be a reason for this. I have a ticket on miles for March, 22 on Cathay for a friend.
There have been several similar messages here on FT. In my experience, the OP does not post the entire story in the first message. Further, the OP minimizes their own actions so as to appear innocent.

Before offering the OP advice, I think it best to ask some specific questions.

1. You opened and closed "few" Citibank AA credit cards. How many? When? Where they business, personal or a combination of cards? Did you open cards in the name of a spouse, parent, child, friend?

2. In order to get the mileage bonus, typically you have to meet a minimum spend in a defined period of time. Did you meet that minimum spend? How did you meet the minimum spend?

3. Did you purchase, then cancel airline tickets and, if so, what happened to any Aadvantage miles from the purchase of the tickets? How many such airline tickets did you purchase and then cancel? Do you have a past history of purchasing and then using similar airline tickets? Were the purchase/cancelled tickets part of your ordinary business needs as evidenced by past history?

4. Did you engage in anything remotely related to manufactured spend? That would mean buying cash equivalent cards at merchants that record such cash equivalent cards as "purchases" (thus eligible for frequent flyer miles) then cycle the cards through a route that ends up with cash equivalent in your hands? (Bluebird cards, vanilla reload, etc, as thoroughly described in the Manufactured Spend section of FT?)

5. You say you have an award ticket for a friend on Cathay for March 22. Who is that friend? How do you know that friend? Did the friend in any way pay you back for buying that ticket? Have you obtained any other award tickets for anyone other than yourself in the past?

6. (Captain Obvious Question) Did you engage in selling, bartering or otherwise exchanging frequent flyer miles or award tickets, ever? Have you done business with a frequent flyer mile broker who expedites such exchanges? Have you advertised miles or award tickets on Craigslist or eBay or similar sites?
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Old Mar 20, 14, 10:36 am   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al613 View Post
I have opened and closed few Citi AA credit cards for bonuses, but I don't know if it could be a reason for this. I have a ticket on miles for March, 22 on Cathay for a friend.
Do I read that correctly? You used Citi-originated miles in your AAdvantage account to acquire twenty-two tickets on CX for a friend? One friend, or several friends?
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Old Mar 20, 14, 10:45 am   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
Do I read that correctly? You used Citi-originated miles in your AAdvantage account to acquire twenty-two tickets on CX for a friend? One friend, or several friends?
I think he has a ticket for a friend on March 22nd.
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