Follow Up: You know you're in trouble when...

So after going to my local bank's branch office, and signing 24 copies of the form that says "Under penalty of perjury, I did not authorize these charges" I had a hand-cramp.  In speaking with the bank representative, he said that upon working with his ACH department he discovered that of all the unauthorized fund transfer complaints submitted to them - 93% were related to PayPal transactions.

It turns out PayPal may have really screwed up here in terms of what happened with my account, and how the charges were applied without my knowledge or authorization. It says on PayPal's own website "As a fraud-prevention measure, we send an email confirmation for every online PayPal payment that you make." That means I should have received 24 emails from PayPal - one for each transaction as it would have been authorized with my authentication via the website. This simple fact apparently slipped their minds when they tried to explain how the unauthorized charges may have happened. I did not receive a single email thanking me for authorizing payment from my PayPal account. However this malicious person did this, did so by getting around PayPal's own system - not just my account specifically.

The thing that really chaps my ass about this whole thing is that even though PayPal flagged transactions 10 through 24 and said they were "holding the funds", they still charged my checking account for each transaction that had been flagged bringing the total to almost $500 when it could have been stopped at less than $200. I have no remorse if PayPal has to eat the cost of each of the chargebacks coming their way from my bank for every fraudulent transaction. If they aren't secure enough to stop hackers from surreptitiously gaining access to accounts on their own website, they don't deserve to have any sympathy.

When you're in the business of securely processing transactions, the last thing that should ever happen is losing the security you're supposedly providing. I'm sure that there will be some sort of backlash from PayPal to me - claiming that I violated my terms of service, or whatever. That's fine with me. I planned on canceling my ebay and PayPal accounts anyway once this whole debacle is over. Once again, it goes to show you that nothing is safe in this electronic world. Do your best to protect yourself - don't use services that may come back to bite you in the end. I learned my lesson the hard way.  Learn from my mistake.

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