A fraudulent charge on my PayPal account — can you get my $1,450 back?

fraudulent charge

There’s a fraudulent charge on Vladislav Perebikovskiy’s PayPal account. The company won’t reverse it. So now what?

Question

Someone accessed my PayPal account and made two purchases of software. I opened disputes with PayPal. PayPal refunded one transaction but denied the second.

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I appealed PayPal’s decision but it denied my appeal. I opened a new case for the same transaction and PayPal denied again.

I tried calling PayPal on the phone and an automated message said, “We cannot help you over the phone.” I wrote to PayPal on Twitter and through the PayPal site, they are refusing to help me.

Can you help me get my $1,450 back from PayPal? — Vladislav Perebikovskiy, Sacramento, Calif.

Answer

If PayPal credited you with one of the fraudulent purchases, it should have done so for both. Why didn’t it? It looks like one was made through your credit card and the other was made through your checking account.

If you use a credit card to make a purchase, you can file a dispute under the Fair Credit Billing Act. I imagine PayPal’s dispute department knew that it would get drawn into a dispute with your credit card company, which would have cost it time and resources. So it reversed the credit card transaction.

Interestingly, both of these fraudulent purchases were made with the same merchant and for about the same amount. It’s inconceivable that a human resolution specialist would have flagged one as fraudulent and not the other. As I review the correspondence between you and PayPal, I’m left with the impression that no human ever saw your case. This looks like the work of an algorithm, which makes a decision without emotion or common sense. But it’s hard to know for sure.

Strangely, PayPal’s emails to you claimed it was denying your dispute because the purchase was “consistent” with your PayPal history. If that were true, then PayPal should have charged you for the other purchase as well.

Another area of concern is the security of your PayPal account. If “someone” accessed your PayPal account, you need to immediately change your password. You don’t want that to happen again, obviously. (It happens way too often.)

How to contact PayPal about a fraudulent charge

I can understand why bringing this to PayPal’s attention by phone or social media was so appealing. If someone had responded, you could have received an almost instant resolution. But PayPal, like other large companies, has built a fortress around itself to protect it from unhappy customers. Again, probably no human saw your online complaints or heard your phone call. PayPal’s dispute resolution is your first, last, and only recourse.

Or is it? I publish some of my proven methods for fixing a consumer problem on this site. I also list the names, numbers and email addresses of the top PayPal executives on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org. You could have reached out to one of them. But given the response you already had — or, more to the point, didn’t have — I’m not sure if they would have done anything.

That leaves me and my team of consumer advocates. And we can be pretty persuasive. I contacted PayPal on your behalf and showed my contact your painful, maddening paper trail. It refunded your $1,450.


Is PayPal doing enough?

We’re getting an awful lot of these PayPal fraudulent charge cases. Do you think the company is doing enough to stop these transactions? I’d love to get your opinion.