Nick Saber just forwarded Google’s eventual response to what went wrong. Because thousands of people wanted to know the answer to the question why, here’s the first part of that letter:
I understand that you may have questions about the recent actions taken on your Google Account. We understand and respect your concerns about your account.
Our specialists performed a thorough investigation of your account ID: firstname.lastname@example.org. It appeared that your account was compromised on 08/01, and an unauthorized charge of $490.30 was attempted in your Google Checkout Account. For security purposes, we suspended this account to prevent additional activity and charges.
We’d also like to assure you that the security and confidentiality of your personal information, including your credit card number, is our highest priority. Your information is securely stored on our servers, and won’t be shared with anyone except under the very limited circumstances described
the security of your account and personal information, please visit http://checkout.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=29075.
We also understand your concerns regarding your account security. It is difficult to determine the exact nature of your account compromise. Please see below for useful information on safeguarding yourself online.
The rest of the letter reminds us not to fall into phishing scams, etc. Good advice.
But wow. Couldn’t this have started with an email saying, “Looks like someone was messing with your account. We shut it down to investigate.” Seems a little backwards to make Nick sweat for a day and change, only to reveal that someone tried to rip him off, and THAT’S why they shut him down.
Special note: Matt Cutts came by with lots of information once this story broke, and I’m grateful for that. Note to ALL companies: if you don’t have a respected face person like Matt out there, think about it. It does help.
What’s your take? How would you have handled it, if you were Google?
Lastly, I’m going to talk about this a bit more in my next newsletter, so if you’re not already subscribed, hop in!