PayPal is an online service that allows you to make financial transactions online without having to give out your credit card or bank information to outside parties. A PayPal account allows you to send money directly to people and certain websites for easy and painless transactions. Typically I love having a PayPal account. That is until someone managed to hack into my account and steal over $135.
On June 2, 2011, I logged into my email account and was met with an unhappy surprise. There were five charges of $27.55 charged to my PayPal account. My initial reaction was shock. I could not comprehend how someone could have gotten my password. Even better, the charges were for United States Postal Service shipping labels for t-shirts being shipped to Russia. Russia! I have never sold anything on eBay and certainly do not have any intentions of selling t-shirts to someone in Russia. Because I had just transferred my PayPal balance into my checking account earlier that day, there was only $10 in my PayPal account when these charges hit, resulting in some hefty bank fees.
Unpleasant Circumstances Result in a Positive Experience with PayPal
I composed myself as best as I could as I started to search for PayPal’s phone number. I was on the line with PayPal for all of ten minutes, if that. The representatives I spoke to were exceptionally helpful. Not only did they open an immediate investigation into the unauthorized charges, but they also promised to refund all charges as well as the bank fees within 10 business days. I immediately changed my password on PayPal, as well as on my email account and other sites I use on a daily basis. The customer service I received was not only friendly but provided accurate information and account security.
The next day I hightailed over to my bank on my lunch break to report the unauthorized charges. A representative at the credit union I belong to filed a report on my account, immediately put a block on my previous debit card and ordered a new card with unique serial number to prevent any further use of my bank account. As an added security measure, my pin number was changed as well.
On June 13, 2011, PayPal closed their investigation into the fraudulent charges that were filed against my account. The findings were just as I had suspected: someone phished my PayPal password and succeeded in charging $137.75 to my PayPal and bank account. The scammer did not get away with this fraudulent activity, however. PayPal immediately refunded the $137.75 plus bank fees to my account. PayPal believes that my account became compromised when I was attempting to pay for an item on eBay. While PayPal is a secure site, eBay is not. In fact many of the scams involving PayPal accounts stem from eBay activity.
So that’s that. I will now be more vigilant than ever when shopping online, and I cannot say enough good things about the level of service I received at PayPal. Hopefully something like this never happens to me again, but if it does, I know I am in good hands.
More from this Contributor:
First Person: My Experience with Car Sharing
How I Save Money on Household Expenses
How Renting Has Saved My Family Money