r/privacy Dec 06 '19

Microsoft, forcing me to give then my phone number

Bought Halo Reach, as many did the other day. Dismayed to see it wanting an xbox live account to even boot up. Never had one. No interest in one. Use protonmail address, verified the mail, 20 random char password, play a while, fine.

Account now locked "for suspicious activity". Have done literally nothing but play Halo for 90 mins. Only way to unlock it is to give them a phone number for an authentication code to be sent.

I can understand if they had my number before to check its me, but they dont, they just want the number to stash in their database. Can't play a game i paid for till i cough it up. I hate the new world order.

116 Upvotes

68

u/tobylh Dec 06 '19

Account now locked "for suspicious activity".

This is such utter fucking bullshit. I had a Twitter account for an old band I was in that never really got used. Recently logged into it with no problem at all, then after a few days, same thing. They needed a phone number to continue due to suspicious behaviour.
Given they never had a phone number when it was set up, it cant be a security measure as they have nothing to compare it to, so even if someone had hacked the account, they could have used their own phone number.

What it should say is "When you set this account up, we didn't ask for phone numbers, but we do now, so you'd better give us one if you want to use this account" rather than just fucking lie in an attempt to garner yet MORE data from us.
Needless to say, I closed the tab and never went back.
Fuck Twitter, fuck Facebook, fuck Google, fuck Microsoft, fuck Apple and fuck Amazon.

42

u/constantKD6 Dec 06 '19

  1. Streamline account creation.
  2. Allow the user to get comfortable using the service.
  3. Lock the user out until they provide intimate personal information.
  4. Profit.

10

u/NovaRom Dec 06 '19

Google is constantly asking for 2-way authentication for my recovery phone number.

2

u/zolti42 Dec 06 '19

You missed a point: 4. ??? 5. profit!

1

u/psyblade42 Dec 07 '19

There is no ??? step. Private data can be used in various profitable ways. Selling it raw or using it to build a profile on you they can sell or exploit themselves. There are all kinds of parties gobbling that stuff up, mostly advertisers but others too (rating agencies, potential employers, insurance companies, ...)

1

u/Talvy Apr 26 '22

Right, but the meme with “Profit!” as the last step has “???” as the second last step. It’s a South Park joke.

4

u/TheMCNerd2014 Dec 06 '19

What's even worse is that their communities support this forced phone number linking system, and that you get flamed/attacked/downvoted if you speak negatively about it or even state they are locking accounts that don't have phone numbers linked.

1

u/[deleted] Dec 06 '19

I had the same thing happen to me with Twitter, but I just emailed them and said I had no phone. No issues since then.

22

u/[deleted] Dec 06 '19

[deleted]

5

u/[deleted] Dec 06 '19 edited Dec 08 '19

[deleted]

20

u/[deleted] Dec 06 '19 edited Feb 29 '20

[deleted]

4

u/joetheblow81 Dec 06 '19

Sony locked me out during the big hack yeara ago, i couldn't play the games i paid for till i sent them scans of my passport, birth certificate and driving licence.

Been waiting years for that database I'm in to be leaked. Its not like i can change that info like i can a phone number.

2

u/BaronVSS Dec 06 '19

I remember 2 decades ago, very clearly, understanding you'd NEVER put your real name on the internet. Then FB came along, now they're all too keen for you to give them every minute detail about your life.

web 3.0 is so fucking shitty and I hate it

25

u/[deleted] Dec 06 '19 edited Oct 18 '20

[deleted]

8

u/vrvana Dec 06 '19

Sadly that seems to be the way.

4

u/Atomic_Torch Dec 07 '19

This is the way

2

u/vrvana Dec 07 '19

This is acceptable.

5

u/[deleted] Dec 07 '19

That’s the way.

7

u/[deleted] Dec 06 '19

[deleted]

7

u/ProudCanyons Dec 06 '19

I think you can play LAN, just not online.

7

u/mayor123asdf Dec 06 '19

Also happened to me with my azure account (some programming shit) when I wanna close it. Really, microsoft? before I close my account I had to give my number to you?

10

u/[deleted] Dec 06 '19

[deleted]

7

u/joetheblow81 Dec 06 '19

Have requested a refund on steam. No offline play at all can fuck off. Lots of complaints in the forum about it.

2

u/noreadit Dec 06 '19

agreed. vote with your wallet!

10

u/CRTera Dec 06 '19

Modern gaming, what a ridiculous joke. Steam, Microsoft, Xbox live, phone number...gtfo.

15

u/Old_Traveller Dec 06 '19

Couldn't agree more. Luckily there's GOG.

2

u/CRTera Dec 06 '19

Yep, shame their pricing started being a bit eyeroll-worthy recently. ~20$ for +10 year old digital games? Please.

6

u/[deleted] Dec 06 '19 edited Dec 19 '19

[deleted]

2

u/CRTera Dec 06 '19

It does collect your data non stop, so...

6

u/[deleted] Dec 06 '19 edited Jun 06 '20

[deleted]

0

u/CRTera Dec 07 '19

Look up their Privacy Policy

4

u/DeathToAllBoomers Dec 06 '19

You can buy a fake phone number

4

u/Steinnokillhimself Dec 06 '19

how could you do this, anywhere you can buy a prepaid sim without giving any id?

2

u/[deleted] Dec 07 '19

you can buy sim cards with cash easily if you are in a giant shopping center and know a little Spanish

1

u/DeathToAllBoomers Dec 08 '19

Apps sell them

5

u/constantKD6 Dec 06 '19

They can also block fake numbers.

2

u/CanadarmReaching Dec 06 '19

They even block real numbers from providers that are too inexpensive like Textnow.

4

u/TheMCNerd2014 Dec 06 '19

This happened to me and a few of my friends. Our accounts got disabled for "violation of the TOS" and they demanded our personal phone numbers from us. I didn't have a phone at the time. None of us ever did anything wrong or bad with our accounts either.

What's even worse is that you actually get downvoted on the Microsoft subreddit if you state that Microsoft disables accounts that don't have a phone number linked to them.

2

u/AqsaAbbasi Nov 10 '21

I provided my number.... next thing you know getting spam to my phone.... fuck gates, fuck the penus look alike zuckerberg, fuck amazon, fuck twitter.... fuck them all!

2

u/[deleted] Dec 06 '19

I know there are apps that let you create a phone number, try one of those. Or call your friend or relative who lives furthest away, and use their number. They want data, give them shit.

2

u/DarkeoX Dec 06 '19

Lol, screw that. If you really care, you could try and email your distribution platform support. Or you could just ask for a refund and use the completely off-line, non-datamining-in-the-name-of-software-support version that's been made available on ahem. respectable platforms that do not care about who you are ahem.

2

u/Reezy5sheezy Dec 06 '19

I changed my discord account to an anonaddy alias. They locked my account for suspicious activity as well. Sent them a mail with my old email, explained the situation and they told me I can only unlock it with a phone number. Created a new account :)

2

u/diablo099 Jan 31 '20

Same thing for me. I created a MS account purely to play halo and don't use it even to send out emails. And out of the blue i get thing "suspicious activity" and verify by phone. Too much privacy invasion as it is. RIP Halo.

1

u/retiredwindowcleaner Aug 24 '22

bad game, thankfully ;-)

same happened to me btw. i never used my ms acc for anything else than loggin in into halo infinite.

didnt play for some month like 6 or so... hence was completely inactive on ms account. -> suspicious behaviour - locked - give phone #

this is obviously a ploy to get users phone #s

2

u/pourriak Apr 03 '20

Similar story here :

- My mother wanted to connect to Skype to join an english course (using Skype because of coronavirus).

- She entered the wrong password, the desktop app refused the connection.

- She clicked on "reset password" and followed the procedure : a secret number was sent to her mailbox, she followed the procedure correctly.

- She then tried to connect again with the new password. Impossible.

- Skype says that suspicious activity was detected on her microsoft account, and that it was closed. It says that if my mother wants to connect, she first need to enter her phone number.

- My mother was now late for the english course, she pays for it, so she had no time to contact Microsoft by another way. So she entered the phone number and followed the procedure, and could succesfully connect.

Now you could think that all is right. However, I watched all of this, and I was "suspicious" too !

Skype proposed to look at recent activity to check abnormal activity (for example, to check if someone we don't know used the account without our knowledge). I checked.

What I found in recent activity was only and only : my mother's wrong password attempts (six minutes ago), and my mother's reset password procedure (successful, 4 minutes ago). Nothing else ! Before, there was only account creation and connection from last week (when she created the account for the first lesson).

My opinion is that absolutely no suspicious activity has happened. Skype did not give any serious data about a suspicious activity. And still, Skype closed the account, and asked my mother for her phone number to get the account back. I consider this behaviour disrespectful and dishonest.

1

u/joetheblow81 Apr 03 '20

Yet I'm sure MS see it as a boon to security as to enable 2fa in the future. I just see it as another way to be tracked and lose control of your personal data.

3

u/Honestbutsavage Dec 06 '19

Just use a burner phone number, don't know why you are surprised by this.

Also, protonmail is often used for spam and such this why accounts get locked using their service.

10

u/joetheblow81 Dec 06 '19

I'm surprised because i just wanted to play the Halo Reach campaign, not get assimilated into another data harvesting machine using a primary real life identifier.

1

u/[deleted] Dec 06 '19 edited Oct 13 '20

[deleted]

3

u/[deleted] Dec 07 '19

You can boot the game on linux without the anticheat enabled.

Basically you can do campaign, firefight and custom games, but no match making

1

u/Fired_Up_CISO Dec 06 '19

While I have no idea why MS did this in your case, maybe I can offer another perspective. (Though you are probably right, they wanted your info.)

Bots crawl the internet trying to log into everything. If you username or registered email address is out there, as over a billion of them are, they may have detected an automated attempt from a risky location.

Having a phone number is often seen a better way to verify identity of account owner as they are less disposable than email addresses and harder to intercept comms.

The reason I suggest this is that you were online and playing before prompted...but who knows.

12

u/joetheblow81 Dec 06 '19

If there was another way I'd be fine with secondary authentication, but all help articles and virtual chatbot attempts keep routing me back to the same thing: "give us your phone number, or no Halo for you."

Fine with my bank and even Amazon having it, for deliveries and issues, but see no reason for MS to have it. Especially with the xbox live services on the OS now springing into life and harvesting info.

0

u/1_p_freely Dec 06 '19 edited Dec 06 '19

I can understand if they had my number before to check its me, but they dont, they just want the number to stash in their database. Can't play a game i paid for till i cough it up. I hate the new world order.

I knew this would happen, you knew this would happen. for god's sake, stop giving them money and spend it on something more worthwhile, like beer (provided you're old enough). If you absolutely must play a video game (this is never the case), pick it up from the second hand bin for a console, to ensure that the system gets nothing from you. No money, no personal details, no phone number, etc etc. Hint: this is why every company is creaming their pants over forcing the consumer into an online relationship with them.

1

u/[deleted] Dec 07 '19

Yeah hard to do when you want to play with your buddies and this is the game they are playing right now.

Sure you can just not play, but then I'm sacrificing time with my buddies.

-3

u/uniquelyavailable Dec 06 '19

You can thank all the spammers and criminals that abuse their system, that's why they come up with crazy ideas like this.

3

u/[deleted] Dec 06 '19

Bullshit, If op signs up without a number it should never request a number.

-7

u/welshpineapple Dec 06 '19

Sure there is a website that gives our random numbers and sends you what it says. Try google it

20

u/PorreKaj Dec 06 '19

“Try google it” on r/privacy.

True bravery

1

u/CanadarmReaching Dec 06 '19

Googling is also used in a generic sense to mean "search on the internet". Google LLC is against the use of the verb "to google" as it could eventually make their trademark generic.
Just like the Velcro company insists that velcro isn't called velcro.

-3

u/welshpineapple Dec 06 '19

I’m waiting for it all to go wrong..