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He Said/She Said

To PayPal Or Not
Posted by Winter Kelly on May 1, 2002 - 12:02:00 PM

screenshot taken from
LOS ANGELES Have you ever heard of PayPal? It is a service that offers to send money by way of email. Anyone that has an email address can receive money directly from your bank or credit card. Well, if you do, you just might want to think twice before clicking on that sign up page.

Pay Pal suckers in their clients by advertising free money. Yes, that is right... a free $5! It almost seems like a good deal. No obligation to join, no fees, etc. However, once you go through page after page to sign up, you wonder where the promised $5 is? Once you have finished your journey through their sign up process (and divulged your whole life's secrets and all), you read the very, very small fine print. After clicking on which seems like a zillion hidden links, you learn that you have to actually deposit $250 into their account in order to get the $5 that they stated so boldly on their advertisement to join. In order to do that, you now have to link a bank account to them.

They force you to divulge your credit card info, your bank info, your personal info and your contact info, if you wish to use their services. Often this is just because you receive money from someone else on the internet that has sent it to you by way of PayPal; in order to collect the money they send you... you have to sign up!

What's more?!?!?! They give you no option, you must use two (of the provided four) security questions that are prewritten. If you use two of the same, it will not let you proceed. You must use TWO SEPARATE questions and give them the answers. The questions are:

City you were born in

Mother's maiden name
Last 4 digits of your social security card
Pet's name

Well, anyone that has the city you were born in can learn a lot off your birth certificate (especially since they already have your age!). If you have my mother's maiden name, than you can access my bank accounts (especially since they already have your bank name and account information), and the last four digits of my social security number will be just almost half of the entire number (not that they need that much more to do serious injury to one's striving credit). Then of course, how many people have pets, to choose that selection? The ones that do usually use their pet names for their passwords to their private email, alarm systems, and other daily uses.

What's more? They actually want you to 'verify' your address by registering your bank account with them. You give them access to your bank account in order to let the other people you are sending money to "know that they can trust you". Yet, they will not even tell you what street they are located on, or a phone number to contact them.

They expect you to freely give all this information, trusting that they have great honest employees, and then you go on to giving your credit card info, home address, etc. Shane, a representative I contacted in customer service claims that the employees only can see the last four digits of the credit card, but with all that other info, who needs that credit card... they can run out and get their own credit card in your name! Also, Shane failed to see the irony when I reminded him that he looked me up by way of my home phone number, and was able to verify my home address, email address, credit card, when I use the card, and all the information they have collected on my account up until now, etc.


Recently after a few friends insisted I sign up for a Pay Pal account, I did. Two months later... my credit card was used all over the internet by some 21-year-old person using video chat. I never had problems with credit card fraud until after I signed up for Pay Pal. I do not ever give information on the internet until my PayPal sign up sheets. I thought, well everyone is doing it, and no one is reporting harm done to them.

In fact, the person that insisted I get this PayPal account, (who happens to be our very own Canyon Gossip's NET MAN) also went through credit card fraud about the same time. Hmmmmm? Could this have anything to do with the zillions of questions we answer on the PayPal sign up sheet?

So after my fraudulent credit card experiences were over, the company was so nice to close off the old account and issue me a new card. Last night, almost forgetting about this whole nightmarish experience, I signed on to PayPal money to send someone money ($10.95 to Canada). I forgot I had not supplied PayPal with my new credit card number, so it showed declined. No problem, I quickly realized my problem, and I entered my new credit card information. Then when I went back to the main screen... BOINKS!! They restricted my account. How horrible is that?!?! I nicely explained to them at their phone number that took me two hours on the net to find! They said no problem, log on and follow the instructions. They now demand that in order to use my account, I must send them my credit card bill, driver's license and another form of ID to their fax machine. Then, I must register my checking account with them. I explained that I did not want to give them an iota of more information. That is why I was there in the first place was because of someone gathering my information. They claimed there was NOTHING they could do, no supervisor there, and no way around it. How great is that?! I give them all my info against my better judgment and now I cannot use it until I give them my back account info and fax them a picture of what I look like as well as my entire DMV info.

Shane, from Pay Pal customer service, states that they require all this information in order to "protect us" from fraud. Well, if that was the case, then why do they make all the questions we have to disclose just the correct questions to violate our bank accounts and credit cards if they choose? How can we trust these $8 an hour data input people with our livelihoods?

All this information goes to this company that uses a post office box as their business address and does not list a phone number, or a direct email. I actually found their phone number through the Better Business Bureau, as I am sure the BBB is well aware of this company by now.

So, folks... WAKE UP! When you trust online, you are taking a risk. When you answer questions while alone on the internet in a dark room, remember they are not being sent off to another dark room, yet databases full of your private information.


Cliffside Malibu




Serving Bel Air, Benedict Canyon, Beverly Hills. Brentwood, Laurel Canyon, Los Feliz, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Melrose, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Topanga, Canyon, Westwood & Hollywood Hills.