Possible PayPal Fraud. Where do I stand?

  Simsy 08:53 15 Feb 2007


I'm not unduly concerned about this at the moment, as I am confident it will be resolved, but I'd appreciate some observations on the legal responsibilities/positions should it not go according to plan, or quickly enough...

It may be pertinent to bear in mind that I don't use PayPal very often, probably averaging out at less than once a month, and when I do a typical transaction is in the order of £20.

A few days ago, in the early hours of the morning, I received 5 emails from PayPal. The first 4 were "receipts" for transactions, (all for several hundred pounds, totalling approx £1350). All the emails were sent to my email address, and the text of all began by addressing me using me correct name. However they all began; "This is to advise you that you, JoeBloggs123 have paid ..." where JoeBloggs123 appears to be an eBay identity, AND ISN'T MINE!! (Apologies to any JoeBloggss' out there... I've made that name up for illustrative purposes!) All 4 were structured the same and all, I presume, relate to eBay purchases. All 4 sellers are different. The destination name and address was the same in each case, but the name wasn't JoeBloggs.

The 5th email was advising that access to parts of my account had been restricted due to a possible security problem. (I don't recall the exact text, but that's the gist of it).

As I was about to leave for work I couldn't do anything immediately, but addressed it later in the morning. I logged into my PayPal account and could see the four transactions; in each case the money had been taken from my nominated CCard and paid out. All the actions had a "completed" status.

I rang my CCard company and outlined what had happened, and told them that the transactions were unauthorised and nothing to do with me. The credit card person noted it, and could see the transaction as "being proccessed". He told me I had to deal with PayPal, and that, (in his personal experience), they were good at sorting such problems.

I then went through the required procedure outlined by PayPal, including changing password again, etc, and registered, (with some difficulty, because some transaction numbers weren't being recognised!!), that the transactions were unauthorised. Somewhere in the process I actually found a phone number for PayPal and managed to speak to a human!

This conversation seemd to be quite productive and it ended with me confident that PayPal had all the information needed. The guy told me that PayPal would initially contact the sellers to see if they could be prevented from despatching the goods. I was advised that it could take up to 10 days for everything to be resolved.

In fact, before the day was up one of the transactions was rectified/recredited on my PayPal account.

My concerns/questions are;

PayPal seem to have a well documented procedure for dealing with such events, but I feel rather remote from it, and in the, (I believe extremely unlikely), event that their investigation doesn't find in my favour, do I have recourse via the CCard company, bearing in mind that as part of the sign up process to PayPal I give them authority to take money from the CCard, so when they do so, from the CCard company perspective, the withdrawls are authorised?

There is currently in excess of £1000 of debit on my CCard acount that is not authorised by me. I normally pay this card in full each month, by DDebit. I cannot afford for that amount to come from my current account so I have changed the arrangement so only the minimum payment would be taken.

If resolving this takes longer than expected there is a possibility, depending on statement dates, that some hefty interest charge would accrue on the credit card. Who would be liable for this, PayPal or the CCard company?

I should perhaps add that me behaviour with regard to security with regard to passwords, firewall, spyware etc, give no cause for concern!

Without intending to sound ungratefull for any advice forthcoming, it the legal position regarding the CCard company, and the interest issue I'm seeking, rather than generic advice as to what I should do. I'm haapy about what I'm doing, but want to be armed should there become a need for me to be more forcefull!!

Thanks in anticipation,



  xania 09:24 15 Feb 2007

As someone who has been on the receiving end of potential fraud twice, I would make 2 points. Firstly, that last email from Paypal means that they recognised the fraud before you had contected then, so, whilst in theory, you are still liable, you should find them totally on your side. Quite how this occurred you will probably never know, but I wonder if you received an unexpected communication from an Ebay customer and used the reply facility in the communication. If ever you do get any form of enquiry, do not reply. Log on to My Ebay directly, and answer from there.
The second point to make is that, you should pay all your bill apart from the fraudulent amount. Then, when all the matters are safely resolved, you will be in a much beeter position to argue that all the interest and other chanrge should be refunded. In any case, you always have at least 3 weeks bewtween the transaction date and the date you have to pay your bill - meanwhile keep up the communication with both Paypal (to make sure they are resolving the problem) and the Credit Card company (so they are fully aware of what is going on). Try to get a case reference from your CCC and then you could also copy any relevant emails from or to Paypal to them.

  dms05 09:24 15 Feb 2007

I was subjected to a fraud on ebay. I'd bought an item in good faith only to learn the buyer had misrepresent himself, his location and the goods. I contacted PayPal and my CC company. Both were very helpful and despite it been over the Christmas break I received all of my money back quickly and in full.

Things to be aware of:

1. Paypal only cover the full cost to £500 and only after you have 50 completed transactions. In my case they refunded 20% as I was under the 50 transaction limit.

2. Barclaycard accepted responsibility for the balance of 80%. They asked me to complete a couple of standard forms and then refunded the outstanding balance even dating it to the original purchase so I didn't pay any interest.

3. If I'd used my Bank Account to pay I would have been out of pocket by 80%.

So always, always, always use your CC to pay for items on ebay/Paypal. Always. No exceptions.

I think your problem will be sorted out. As you acted quickly Paypal and your CC company may well have been able to stop the payments - in my case I waited the 15 days PayPal ask for before reporting the fraud, so they couldn't do that.

My experience of PayPal and Barclaycard were exceptionally good. They acted quickly and fairly when I approached them in a business like manner. Loosing your cool with them will be counter productive. You seem to have dealt with this very professionally and I don't think you have much of a problem.

Good luck

  Simsy 09:53 15 Feb 2007

for your observations. I've learnt a number of things there.

I'd still welcome observations on my specific questions, if anyone has the answers.




  Spark6 11:29 15 Feb 2007

You have my sympathy because I have recently been subjected to an attempted credit card fraud.

Two suggestions I would like to make; as your purchases are normally inexpensive why don't you limit the credit on your card to a minimum amount to lessen any possible short term expense?

Secondly, report this to your local police and obtain a Crime Number.

Best wishes for a speedy and satisfactory conclusion.

  Simsy 12:10 15 Feb 2007

That I've had a series of emails from PayPal confirming that each of the transactions is acknowledged as unauthorised and all monies are being refunded.

They haven't yet reached my CCard account, but i have no doubt that tey will do so in the next day or so.

All is showng refunded when I log into my PayPal account.

So that's good... but for the record I'd still be interested in the answers to my questions at the end of my original post.



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