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FlyerTalk Forums Thread Wiki: Account audit / blocked / fraud: award / miles / SWU / sale, barter, etc.
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Account audit / fraud issues - bartering, selling awards, miles / SWU / VIP, etc.
"My account was closed..."

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.

It is okay at this time to gift awards, upgrades, etc. as long as there is absolutely no quid pro quo (no buying or selling or offervto do so, no barter or trade "you give me one now I'll give it back" or anything smacking of prohibited activity. AA is probably the strictest of the US airlines about this. They have a very active and expert AAdvantage Fraud division of the AA Corporate Fraud department, and they can both be aggressive and, some might say merciless - clawing back one's miles and instruments, even closing one's account and terminating status and ability to participate in the AAdvantage program.

Please read on for information and the consensus of knowledgeable members.

Quote:
E.g. AAdvantage Terms and Conditions excerpt: "At no time may AAdvantage mileage credit or award tickets be purchased, sold, advertised for sale or bartered (including but not limited to transferring, gifting, or promising mileage credit or award tickets in exchange for support of a certain business, product or charity and/or participation in an auction, sweepstakes, raffle or contest). Any such mileage or tickets are void if transferred for cash or other consideration. Violators (including any passenger who uses a purchased or bartered award ticket) may be liable for damages and litigation costs, including American Airlines attorneys’ fees incurred in enforcing this rule." (This extends to other AA instruments such as Systemwide Upgrades, etc., selling of extra AirPass seats or baggage allowance, etc.)
Also see American Airlines Conditions of Carriage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS255 View Post
<snip>"While you may consider the AAdvantage Miles in your account to be *your* property, they are actually the property of AA, and AA permits you to redeem them within the program rules set by AA. If AA detects any impropriety (real or perceived) in the use of AAdvantage miles, they reserve the right to confiscate the miles and/or close/delete the account."...
The typical email from AA Corporate Security can not be addressed by calling AAdvantage Customer Service or other methods - you must reply to the email address given. It likely 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.
Excellent summaries of information (based on the sum of experiences we have seen in this thread over time) of how to respond:

Quote:
Blogger Gary Leff: "If you made that mistake and got caught, American usually will go light on first-time offenders provided that they ‘come clean’ and are forthcoming about whom a systemwide was sold to or purchased from and what the terms were. They are most interested in serial brokers and are willing to ‘plea bargain’ with minor offenders to get the Evip-lords. There may be a consequence but it should fall short of account shutdown and forfeiture of miles." Link
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbrower View Post
I am going to try and provide a summary of the advice. For the record, this is 90% from Jon (JonNYC) and a little bit from other comments and circumstances, I am just trying to provide an easy summary, without all the explanations and reasons. I am happy to have others update/correct.

1. Respond to the questions in the email which you received. Don't try to call or email that person, or anyone else, at AA or DOT or whatever. Just answer the email.

2. Answer every question, in detail, with the facts. Don't use sarcasm or "you should know" or anything else that sounds like to you are avoiding the exact question being asked.

3. Assume that they know more about the true facts than you do. It might not always be true, but in most cases they have way more information than you might assume. So go back to #2, above.

4. If you did ANYTHING that was wrong (not under your interpretation of what you think the rules should be, but based on what the rules actually say) then, if you want to continue to participate in the AAdvantage program, tell them about your error and tell them that you are prepared to pay a correct penalty for your mistake (miles/status/etc) and then go back to #2, above.
From JonNYC, our resident expert on this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonNYC View Post
Perfect and 100%.
<snip>

The analysts that do this for a living have the same reactions that any humans do to being lied to and/or condescended to. Therefore, as well as being 100% truthful, go out of your way NOT to be:

-condescending
-brusque
-sharp, terse and/or sounding like you're being inconvenienced
-insulting
-just generally slippery, aloof, evasive and unforthcoming. As mentioned; they know more than you think they do. Always.

DO be apologetic, contrite and extremely cooperative.

Finally, any version of "...in which case, I'll be emailing [insert name or department here] to tell them how I, a [insert years flying AA, status, MMer, $$ spent, etc] customer is being treated" and/or mention of your lawyer, DOT, Chris Elliot (), this forum, any blogger, etc. DO NOT DO THIS.
Older posts have been archived to the
archived 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.

NOTE: Posts about members experiencing account security breaches, fraud, theft of awards and instruments have moved to Account fraud / breach: my account compromised, awards stolen, etc..

Updated 24 Feb 2017 - JDiver
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Old Jan 27, 16, 3:25 am   #1
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I got a account audit on my account as I used the same card amongst 3 of my family accounts. Got a email from AA and answered all their questions, got a follow up email with more questions which were also answered. Heard nothing from AA for over 6 months and a couple of weeks ago I tried to redeem an award but was advised by AA that my account was in audit state still and needs to be unlocked. They would send a email to that department.

Been a week and the flights I had on hold have had the time limit expire, managed to get the same ones on hold but the time limit expires again today. When I speak with AA reservations that advise that they have emailed that respective dept and are waiting to hear back from them.

Any suggestions? Its been 2 weeks now!
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Old Jan 27, 16, 3:36 am   #2
  
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Quote:
I used the same card amongst 3 of my family accounts
Do you mean you used the same account number for 3 people?
Quote:
Heard nothing from AA for over 6 months
Quote:
Its been 2 weeks now!
Has it been locked for 6 months?
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Old Jan 27, 16, 3:39 am   #3
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As often seems to happen with these cases, we need a lot more information...
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Old Jan 27, 16, 3:42 am   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richarddd View Post
Do you mean you used the same account number for 3 people?


Has it been locked for 6 months?
I used my credit card on my wives, sons and my account to redeem for us. I think they must have seen same card number on 3 different accounts and suspected broker activity.

To be honest I never heard back from them after I replied to their second email which asked about the card number used and name/address of the person who is travelling. It was more like a generic email then something targeted after I explained to them in the first email. The ticket that was booked was ok to fly but we could not fly that once so cancelled it two weeks back and rebooked new one which is still not issued.

The account wasn't locked I could still get into it.
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Old Jan 27, 16, 3:44 am   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Microwave View Post
As often seems to happen with these cases, we need a lot more information...
Happy to provide. What would you like. Would appreciate your advise as I don't know what to do.
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Old Jan 27, 16, 3:49 am   #6
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Oh the reason why they must have suspected is that my wives account was still in her maiden name. I sent the audit dept proof and they have updated the name on her account.

I thought all was resolved as I didn't hear back from them since then.
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Old Jan 27, 16, 6:35 am   #7
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onlysuites View Post
I used my credit card on my wives, sons and my account to redeem for us. I think they must have seen same card number on 3 different accounts and suspected broker activity.

To be honest I never heard back from them after I replied to their second email which asked about the card number used and name/address of the person who is travelling. It was more like a generic email then something targeted after I explained to them in the first email. The ticket that was booked was ok to fly but we could not fly that once so cancelled it two weeks back and rebooked new one which is still not issued.

The account wasn't locked I could still get into it.
A credit card? Struggling to figure out why AA Corporate Security would lock your AAdvantage account over a credit card. They lock your AAdvantage account when they suspect you have done something to violate the Ts & Cs of the AAdvantage program, i.e., selling or bartering your miles, or using an AA credit card to earn miles in an improper way (making purchases to earn miles and then returning the purchases), etc.

Are we getting the full "story" here? They don't lock accounts for 6 months on a whim.
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Old Jan 27, 16, 7:00 am   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krlcomm View Post
A credit card? Struggling to figure out why AA Corporate Security would lock your AAdvantage account over a credit card. They lock your AAdvantage account when they suspect you have done something to violate the Ts & Cs of the AAdvantage program, i.e., selling or bartering your miles, or using an AA credit card to earn miles in an improper way (making purchases to earn miles and then returning the purchases), etc.

Are we getting the full "story" here? They don't lock accounts for 6 months on a whim.
Why are you guys making this such hard work!

1. This forum is NOT AA corp security and I have nothing to gain by telling you lies so you have the "full story"
2. They locked my account as the same credit card number was used against 3 different account making them suspect the accounts were sold? Why else would my card be used on a account that I am not named on. Once I explained them the reasons they were ok.
3. The account was not locked it simply has a remark against it to say that they need to contact corp security before any redemptions
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Old Jan 27, 16, 7:03 am   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onlysuites View Post
Oh the reason why they must have suspected is that my wives account was still in her maiden name. I sent the audit dept proof and they have updated the name on her account.

I thought all was resolved as I didn't hear back from them since then.
There's no way the maiden name thing alone would have been a red flag, nor is the one credit card being used across 3 family-members accounts be something that would be usunual or suspicious on its own. There must be something else.

As well, the end of the audit process is pretty clear, it's not overly ambiguous in most cases that they haven't found your answers satisfactory. Although it sounds like your account was in some kind of intermediate state, not fully locked, in which case, the -only- answer will come from AA.

So, I'd think a bit harder about what it was that caused this problem and if you gave them ALL the answers they were looking for.
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Old Jan 27, 16, 7:06 am   #10
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onlysuites View Post
Oh the reason why they must have suspected is that my wives account was still in her maiden name. I sent the audit dept proof and they have updated the name on her account.

I thought all was resolved as I didn't hear back from them since then.
I redeem miles 1-2 times a year for my wife. Her account is in her maiden name as that is the name on her passport. I use my credit card in my name, different last name, to pay the taxes/fees. We have done this for about 10 years, and no issues. Maybe it's something else?? Hope they can resolve for you quickly.
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Old Jan 27, 16, 7:07 am   #11
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onlysuites View Post
Why are you guys making this such hard work!

1. This forum is NOT AA corp security and I have nothing to gain by telling you lies so you have the "full story"
2. They locked my account as the same credit card number was used against 3 different account making them suspect the accounts were sold? Why else would my card be used on a account that I am not named on. Once I explained them the reasons they were ok.
3. The account was not locked it simply has a remark against it to say that they need to contact corp security before any redemptions
(bold/red mine)

Ignore the nonsense.

OTOH - We have gotten half truths so many times, I think people get jaded.

Help me understand #2... what do you mean "used against 3 different account "? Do you mean you paid for flights on 3 different accounts with one credit card? (I do that with my Mrs. 110pgl and vice versa... but same last name. I do not believe there is anything against the rules doing that.)
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Old Jan 27, 16, 7:38 am   #12
  
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As far as I know, when you redeem AA awards from another account, you should paid with a CC that match the information from that account.
You can pay with your own CC online, but if you call, they will tell you that a CC from the owner of that account is needed. Just a regular way to prevent that someone steal your AA miles.
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Old Jan 27, 16, 7:55 am   #13
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However, if one of the FF accounts is that of a child, how is the child supposed to pay with his/her own credit card? Also, if it's an award ticket for someone else, don't airlines sometimes ask to see the credit card used, so that the passenger's credit card should be used?
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Old Jan 27, 16, 8:20 am   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onlysuites View Post
Why are you guys making this such hard work!

1. This forum is NOT AA corp security and I have nothing to gain by telling you lies so you have the "full story"
2. They locked my account as the same credit card number was used against 3 different account making them suspect the accounts were sold? Why else would my card be used on a account that I am not named on. Once I explained them the reasons they were ok.
3. The account was not locked it simply has a remark against it to say that they need to contact corp security before any redemptions
Because I think many of us don't understand what you are trying to say. Does #2 indicate that you transferred miles from one credit card account to three different AA accounts? Or is it that you used your credit card to pay taxes for you, your wife and your sons?

When in doubt, read what JonNYC has to say. He usually has the correct answer.

Mike
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Old Jan 27, 16, 9:17 am   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonNYC View Post
So, I'd think a bit harder about what it was that caused this problem and if you gave them ALL the answers they were looking for.
I gave them all the answers they asked for and didn't hear back from them other than a email to confirm that they had updated the surname on my wives account. The tickets that were issued remained ok to fly. So as far as I was concerned it was a finished matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 110pgl View Post
Help me understand #2... what do you mean "used against 3 different account "? Do you mean you paid for flights on 3 different accounts with one credit card? (I do that with my Mrs. 110pgl and vice versa... but same last name. I do not believe there is anything against the rules doing that.)
Account 1. Mine
Account 2. My wives but under her marital name
Account 3. Sons.

Used one credit card to redeem on all three. So yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeef View Post
Because I think many of us don't understand what you are trying to say. Does #2 indicate that you transferred miles from one credit card account to three different AA accounts? Or is it that you used your credit card to pay taxes for you, your wife and your sons?

When in doubt, read what JonNYC has to say. He usually has the correct answer.

Mike
I used my card to pay for taxes on 3 different redemptions from 3 different accounts.


Basically I know I have not done anything wrong and fully co-operated with AA and thought matter was finished.

Is it normal to leave a account in dormant state which means not locked but with a remark against it.

Ok now the main thing is what can I do. I am proactively asking AA reservations to ask someone to contact me for the last 2 weeks but I am not getting anywhere.
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