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'PayPal has charged me for purchases in a store I've never set foot in'

Jessica Gorst-Williams
PayPal explained that the reader had fallen victim to a scam whereby someone had used his password without his consent to link his PayPal account to a wallet account - Credit: M4OS Photos / Alamy Stock Photo

At 89 years old I have been selling my things on eBay (using PayPal for payments) to save my children doing it after I pass away. I give them the proceeds.

On checking the account I noticed PayPal had charged me three times for the same amount on the same day for a store I have never been in or used online for a purchase. 

This pertained to a phone company I have never had any dealings with. I completed a complaints form online. Eventually PayPal reimbursed one of the charges but, when I checked, it had not adjusted the balances that had been wrong before.

I emailed PayPal asking it to explain and amend. Its automatic reply was: “Fill in a complaint form.” I did this again using its references. Nothing happened but I noticed that one of the charges had been refunded.

However the amount was still a “minus” when it should be a “plus” and the balance was still incorrect.

Can you get PayPal to correct the errors and unfreeze the account please? The money involved is only £27.17, but it annoys me that PayPal ignores the problem and has frozen the account.

KG, Hants

As using the form was not enabling you to get a resolution, you wrote in directly. Then PayPal requested personal information to be sent by email, which you did not want to do because of security concerns.

I spoke to PayPal and it explained you had fallen victim to a scam whereby someone had used your password without your consent to link your PayPal account to a wallet account. This enabled the scammer to make payments in retail stores without your permission.

Get in touch | How to contact Jessica Gorst-Williams

A PayPal spokesman said: “To prevent any further unauthorised payments, we restricted access to Mr G’s PayPal account. He has since changed his password and we have fully restored his access. 

“Through our Buyer Protection policy we cover the cost of unauthorised payments, so we issued a refund to Mr G plus a goodwill credit for the inconvenience he experienced.”

I have been unable to speak to you as you bar numbers that are withheld, which mine is. I do not know how your password was compromised but there are many ways fraudsters can get hold of it. 

You may have used unprotected shared devices such as in a hotel or library or responded to phishing emails that look as if they are from genuine sources such as your email provider or your bank. 

There is also a risk of having passwords which can be guessed easily and using the same ones for different accounts. PayPal says it is glad that it was able sort this out in the end.