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email account locked

On our wavelength

Yesterday I wanted to send some jpg page scans and photos to a contact. Because of the size of these I sent them in 3 successive emails, the first two with 4 attachments each at about 10Mb each email. The last with 5 photos totalling about 25Mb. I use the Thunderbird email client and the first 3 seemed to go ok but I was warned that the third was quite big but I sent it anyway. It did not appear in my sent folder and almost immediately all access to this email address (which happened to be my primary one) was blocked.

I'm assuming it was what I did that caused the lock. Is this correct? What are the rules for what size of attachments are allowed?

I left things overnight hoping things would be ok in the morning but it was still blocked. I followed the instructions to reset the password (adding dob and mother's maiden name) but nothing happened when I tried this. I had to resort to calling 150, was warned of "longer than normal wait time" but did eventually get through to an agent. This lady was helpful but it was not straightforward or quick for her to unlock my account. After several tries and being put on hold a temporary password was spelled out to me and with this I could again access my account and after a few minutes my emails again.

Later today I received the SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY email which I assume relates to what happened earlier. I have done full virus scan anyway and all is reported clean as expected.

My questions are:
1) Is my assumption that my sending the 3 emails with largish attachments likely to have caused the problem correct? If so what are the guidelines for acceptable attachment size to avoid this problem.
2) Why did online password resetting not work requiring a call to 150?
3) Is the SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY email an automatic direct result of 1 and 2 even though the problem had been resolved by when it was sent?
3) Isn't there a better option than spelling out a temporary password to a customer? This seems very dodgy as obviously my password was known to others who could access my account and emails, albeit only for a short while till I changed it again.



The answer to your questions is that the VM email system is not really fit for purpose. It is a left-over from the days of dial-up internet (when free email addresses were bundled in with signing up to a particular dial-up ISP) and it looks as if VM email is now on its way out. (New VM customers cannot create email addresses and existing VM customers cannot add new ones).

The info on attachments is at the bottom of this page (seemingly 22 MB to 25 MB max.)

Usual advice, often given on the forums, is to start the gradual process of migrating your email usage away from VM and onto one of the other free, non-ISP email providers.

On our wavelength

Thanks for replying, doesn't quite answer the point about whether what I did actually induced the lockout but the evidence certainly points that way. I hadn't realised new customers can't now get an email address. OK too on migration - I've been thinking that way myself, but quite a pain when you've been using an address for a long time - but maybe has to be done, over time as you say.

I doubt anyone (including folk from VM) can give you an honest/accurate explanation on what causes the account-locking issues. Some time ago, VM implemented 'upgrades' to the email service and, since that time, the system seems to be a little 'trigger happy' about locking accounts and sending out 'suspicious activity' messages to customers. The reason you won't get any info is that a third party is involved in the monitoring process and generating the messages. In past topics on here, VM forum staff cannot provide a reason why accounts have been locked or warning messages sent out.

When these blocking-and-locking issues first started, I had to assist a friend with the problem (requiring a password reset). The only thing I could identify at that time seemed to be a URL in an email (which was not actually anything to raise any concerns) which looked like it might have been the cause.

On our wavelength

Thanks for that further insight. All I can say was that the attachments I sent were just scans of an old magazine article and book pages from circa 1990 plus pics taken by me of some old equipment for a vintage technology forum! So no URLs involved, but I may have bust the size limit.

Very Insightful Person
Very Insightful Person

SMTP server would have returned an error if message size limit was exceed and Thunderbird would have displayed:the following and message would not have been sent:


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Thanks for that info, Thunderbird did warn that the attachments were rather large when I went to send the email but I clicked the box to proceed anyway. I then got a message saying that the mail could not be saved to my Sent folder, but could only be saved to my Local folder (which I selected and it is there with the 5 photos totaling 22.1MB). It was at this point that the account got locked. The next day when I'd got it unlocked, I assumed the mail had not got sent but I had a reply from the recipient confirming he'd received it ok.