Yet another some guy used my email (but for Paypal)
September 2, 2014 4:55 PM   Subscribe

About a year ago, someone signed up for a Paypal account, using my email address. I ignored the activation email, but somehow that has not kept me from continuing to receive account updates, receipts, etc. Hope me get the person to change the email associated with the account to one that person owns; and by extension, allow me to claim the Paypal account associated with my email.

Normally, I would just set a filter to auto-delete these messages. However, a few other services I use with my address are defaulting to sending payments to the Paypal account of I would like these payments to actually go to me, and not this account squatter.

The first time I encountered this, was a few months after the account was created. I tried logging in, sent a password reset request, reset the password … and was blocked by Paypal wanting me to confirm the MasterCard number tied to the account. Since I did not sign up, and do not have a MasterCard, I got stuck at this point.

I tried going through Paypal customer support to remove my email address from this other person's account. Support was extremely unhelpful, repeatedly called me by a name starting with my first initial despite me correcting them multiple times (e.g. "Ok Joe, can you tell me the first four digits of your MasterCard?"; "No, my name is John. Joe signed up using my email address, and I would like the account address to be reset, or account closed, or anything to allow me to use my own address"; "Sorry Joe, I cannot do that, all accounts need an email address.". Repeat a few dozen times, with the same support rep.).

After spending a few hours wrestling with Paypal support, I gave up.

But now, I am expecting other services to be sending me payments much more frequently, and these services all default to sending the payments to the Paypal account associated with my email. I would rather not have to constantly check when payments will be incoming, and switch it to a mailed check.

So! Any suggestions for getting past the useless Tier 1 support people? Or tracking down the person that opened the account to ask that they use their own email?
posted by jraenar to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Tweet @AskPaypal publicly and point out that they are sending emailing their customer's private financial information to a stranger. That's what I did when someone gave my address to TD Bank. At many companies, tweeted support requests more reliably reach people with the ability/time to solve your problem.
posted by caek at 5:03 PM on September 2, 2014 [7 favorites]

I wonder if it would help if you phrased it differently-- not that you're getting unwanted email, but that someone is stealing your money?
posted by acidic at 5:28 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Just do a password reset on the account, change the email to something fake, and sign up on your own. Let that guy deal with PayPal.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:48 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm a little unclear on one point in your question. It sounds like you talked to one support representative, but then you say it was several hours of wrestling with support, so I'm thinking you actually called multiple times? If you did not speak to more than one support rep, I would try calling back. And if that person is not helpful, I would ask to speak to a supervisor (again, not sure if you tried this, sorry).
posted by freezer cake at 5:52 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Is there a phone number on the account you can call or text to tell the guy to fix his email address? Not sure if this would be visible in any of the emails you've received. If not (or if that seems weird, which frankly it might be) I'd go with that caek suggests.
posted by Librarypt at 5:52 PM on September 2, 2014

PayPal's account services representatives are incredibly single-minded about certain things, account-holder names among them. I think that, to start with, you should get a new e-mail address and sign up for your own PayPal account under it so you can switch the other services to that as your primary and stop worrying about receiving your payments. When working on this issue though, don't ever mention that account to PayPal unless it's for a business that has its own tax ID. You might end up having to send them proof of your identity and this is only going to get more snarled if they're specifically made aware of multiple accounts under "your" name. Once you have control over the account you actually want, switch your services back to your regular e-mail and deactivate the other.
posted by teremala at 6:34 PM on September 2, 2014

If you have received receipts, do any of them have an address or phone number for the person who isn't you? That might be a good way to track them down.
posted by ohisee at 6:39 PM on September 2, 2014

Find the owner, contact them and have them change it voluntarily. PayPal will never let you acquire the email address by force because for all they know, you're a hacker trying to redirect funds coming from existing paypal links/buttons to you.
posted by michaelh at 8:34 PM on September 2, 2014

I agree that Twitter is a promising avenue for getting to someone who can actually help you. Or maybe try one of the numbers on this site (it's pretty old but still worth a shot...)
posted by aka burlap at 8:51 PM on September 2, 2014

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