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Thread: Account hacked - 3600$ neg balance - any advice?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    2

    Default Account hacked - 3600$ neg balance - any advice?

    Sorry for long read, but want to tell my story precisely. I have been a Paypal member since year 2000. I use it 5-10 times a year on average; never had any issues until now. Have a banking account, as well as credit card on file.

    Logging in my bank account, I was surprised to see it in the negative, with 4 NSF charges. I also saw 5 Paypal debits, dating from 3 days prior, ranging from 130$ to 2900$ (Canadian $).

    One of the debit was 130$ and there was enough $ in my bank account so it went through. The other 4 debits (700$, 2900$, 1200$ and 126$), resulted in NSF's since my banking account didn't have enough funds.

    Something that I can't explain yet: I didn't get any email confirmations about these purchases. I normally always get an email back when I purchase something...

    Honestly still can't explain how I was hacked... I'm a developer/analyst, computer expert; know very well about security, how scams work... Bitdefender antivirus up to date on PC, updated daily. Seems to me like fraudster must have had my password in some way...

    Anyways I logged on to Paypal, with my regular password. It hadn't been changed. Password was a legit one (impossible to guess, 8 chars, with upper/lower and digits). Nothing that I could see was out of the ordinary with my account, i.e. my email / phone / address / password were all OK. Immediately changed my password, pin code and security questions.

    I checked the 5 transactions. The first 2 (700$ + 2900$) were in Thai Baht currency, to the same seller in Thailand. He apparently sold me a smartphone, then 2 smartphones + 2 laptops. I can see that from the "detailed invoice" on paypal. Both transactions resulted in NSFs on my bank account.

    The 3rd transaction was a "shareagift.com" purchase for 1200$, in British pounds. Hadn't heard of this site before, looks like it's to fund-raise. I assume the fraudster sent himself money? This resulted in an NSF too.

    4th was a transfer of 130$ (in Euros) 80.00 to VirWoX account 'Alexandre12'. Never heard of it before, but it looks like you can buy bitcoins with paypal on this site. Alexandre is my first name. That one went through and the sum was debited from my banking account.

    5th was identical to 4th, except it didn't go through due to NSF.

    All transactions went against my banking account, nothing against my credit card (which is there as backup). All in, my Paypal balance now shows negative 3600$ USD (about 4700 CAD).

    Same day I noticed all this, I disputed all 5 transactions in Paypal's resolution center. I wasn't that worried since I'm thinking, this is so obvious... a well known and respected company like Paypal, they should clear this up fast.

    Over the next few days I could follow the "investigation" online. First step was "email sent to buyer". Hmm, so I guess that's me... but I didn't get any email. Then 3 "emails sent to seller", across 7-8 days. After 8 days, I get an email from Paypal: my account is secure, and they didn't find any unauthorized use of my account; my cases were therefore closed. WTH?

    So I call them.
    Call #1: Agent is agreeable; asks if I submitted dispute; then tells me he is reversing all 5 transactions. I ask him, "OK so I should see the balance change right?" and he says "hmm I have to check with my supervisor, we'll communicate back with you by email shortly". Of course, never received anything.

    Call #2, couple of days later: Agent very nice too, she tells me "I need to discuss this with my supervisor, and will call you within 15 mins tops". She confirms my phone #; then hangs up. She would never call back.

    Call #3, next day: another agent, also pleasant. Tells me he understands my frustration, but that Fraud department has sided against me; but will try to reopen the case, adding more details, like the fact that it looks like email notification was deactivated on my account. I would hear from them soon.

    Next day Paypal calls me back (4th conversation). Same agent as #3. He tells me that unfortunately, fraud dept has sided against me, and they can't re-open. I ask "this is ridiculous, has a human being looked at this? all kinds of currencies, purchases in Thailand/India/UK and bitcoins; where were those items shipped??; which "cause" were the funds raised for??; etc. He tells me some story about IP addresses and how fraud dept probably saw that purchases were made from a previously used IP address. I am not happy, ask what are the next steps to dig into this, as it is ridiculous. He tells me there is nothing further from his standpoint; that I could go to the police and then police would communicate with paypal. I say this is unacceptable, can't accept their investigation, and want to speak to supervisor. The agent tells me that his supervisor will call me back before end of day.

    I went to the bank, told them about the fraud, and asked if they could refund the NSF charges (they did); and asked to open an investigation for the 130$ that went through (it's underway). They cancelled my bank card and issued a new one, so at least Paypal can't go there anymore.

    I tried raising the issue on @AskPayPal on twitter, waiting to see if someone sensible over there will look at it.


    This is where I'm at now. Any advice on how to continue this fight?

    Paypal hasn't charged my credit card yet. I am unable to remove it from my paypal account (doubt it would change anything). Should I cancel the credit card before they go at it? Or just let them get the 3600$ USD, then call and report as unauthorized / chargeback?

    Should I keep trying to talk to someone at Paypal, maybe request a supervisor up front?

    My calls were in French (my mother tongue); maybe try in English, hope for better luck?

    Would hate to have collections agencies come into play and wreck my credit score...

    Thanks in advance...

  2. #2

    Default

    It's a shocking news. You should make some good plans to protect your services from hackers. Thanks for your kind information. It was a good lesson for everyone to take care of their websites.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    2

    Default Happy ending

    Well there was a happy ending!

    I called a fifth time; this time my call was sent to the Paypal Accounts Payable call centre. I spoke with a lady there who was sensible; she agreed that "yeah this is an obvious fraud, let me fill all the forms required on our end to get this taken care of". She asked for some details (she could see the negative balance but not the detail of the transactions).

    3-4 days later, I received a string of emails from Paypal, letting me know that each and every fraudulent transaction had been refunded. My account balance went back to where it should be. All is good!

    So it's not all bad! A few clueless people in Paypal Customer Service, the dispute section seems to be automated and not satisfactory; but the Acct Payable team was very helpful, and got things back to where they should be! I took this opportunity to add 2-way authentication to my Paypal account (SMS PIN to log in) and that should prevent any further fraud.

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