When someone hacks Alan Gutfrucht’s PayPal account, he assumes the company will help him recover the money he lost. His assumption is wrong. Is there any way to reverse the fraudulent transactions?
Someone hacked my PayPal account late at night through a trojan program planted on my computer. A total of nine unauthorized transactions totaling $1,965 were made over a period of about 45 minutes. Luckily, my son, who is a late-shift worker, noticed the activity on my computer and shut the computer down.
The first transaction was a cash transfer to an email address in Germany. The remaining eight transactions were all purchases of software in Germany that were digital delivery.
That morning at around 5 a.m., I notified PayPal and filed an unauthorized transaction dispute on all nine transactions. Six hours later, PayPal concluded its investigation and denied my dispute of all nine transactions.
I filed an appeal, but just 12 minutes later PayPal claimed to have “completed” its investigation. It denied my appeal.
I have followed all of your recommendations by keeping all of my communications professional and respectful. First, I escalated my claim as far as I could to PayPal’s Office of Executive Escalations, which has also denied the claim.
Then I worked my way through your contact list, with the last being a FedEx Overnight letter to the president and CEO. I have not received a response from any of them. Because I put a stop payment on all PayPal transactions with my bank, my PayPal account has a current negative balance.
I want PayPal to conduct a real investigation into this case and to honor its pledge of protection from unauthorized transactions. I want my account balance back into good standing. Can you help me? — Alan Gutfrucht, Oregon, Ill.
I’m so sorry to hear about your PayPal account being hacked. When something like that happens, and you report it immediately, you expect PayPal to be in your corner. But it seems PayPal was in the other guy’s corner.
According to the records you sent, you did everything by the book. You reported the fraudulent transactions immediately. You furnished PayPal with all the information it requested. PayPal offers “security” for buyers like you. Specifically, it guarantees that it will protect your account. “If you report an unauthorized transaction problem within 60 days from the transaction date, we’ll investigate right away,” PayPal promises. “You aren’t liable for unauthorized purchases made from your account.”
PayPal’s brief, six-hour investigation determined that “the login activity and the disputed purchases were consistent with previous account use.” That’s very odd, since all nine transactions happened at 3:42 a.m. your time and involved purchases in Germany. You’ve never purchased anything with PayPal in Germany.
Bizarrely, your appeal took 12 minutes — 12 minutes! — to wrap up. I find it difficult to believe any human reviewed your case. If a Paypal representative had carefully looked at your problem, I think this would have resolved in your favor.
How to contact PayPal about a hacked account
You also handled your appeals like a pro, taking your case to the executive contacts for PayPal that I list on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org. Very nice work! I don’t understand why the company didn’t respond. But it’s not the first time, nor will it be the last.
When someone hacks your PayPal account, you expect the company to be sympathetic and to fight for your money — not give you the silent treatment.
I contacted PayPal on your behalf and asked it to review your case one more time. A representative told me that the company’s customer service team looked into your dispute and contacted you to provide you “with education” about your case. It issued a full refund without telling me what went wrong.
Maybe PayPal concentrated on the “pay” and forgot about the “pal” part.