Scammers Using Antivirus Companies to Fool PayPal Users

Of late, scammers have grown smarter when it comes to conning people on the Internet. Several scammers have begun to use Word documents as attachments while sending out scam emails. However, they haven’t stopped there and are now using Antivirus companies to scam PayPal users.

A flurry of emails are being sent out by scammers with subject lines like “Receipt for your payment to AVG” or “Receipt for your payment to Symantec” or “Receipt for your payment to Norton“accompanied by a PayPal receipt which looks very genuine (see image below).

Paypal Antivirus AVG Scam

The email in question looks very genuine and the scammer asks you to confirm the payment and also includes a “Cancel Transaction” link. This would definitely make many people click on the link because they might not have made the purchase in the first place. Clicking on the link will take the users to a website which is similar to that of PayPal.

Fake PayPal Login Credit Card Hoax

The website in question will ask you for your username and password. However, DO NOT enter it. For testing purposes, I entered a fake username and password and it allowed me to access my false account. It then went on to tell me that my account is limited and that I need to enter my credit card, social security, banking and billing information.

This scam looks to be pretty widespread because not only is it farming your PayPal username and password but it is also stealing your credit card information, social security and banking information.

There are several ways in which you can protect yourself from such scammers like turning on the Anti-phishing feature in to know when emails from PayPal are genuine. You should also always have a good Antivirus and Anti-spyware or Anti-malware running on your system. You can find tons of free Antivirus software which you can download and use immediately. You can also read our earlier guide to Protect Yourself from Internet Threats.

Yahoo Finally Gets a New CEO. It’s PayPal President Scott Thompson

Yahoo Four months after unceremoniously firing Carol Bartz, the Yahoo board has finally picked a new CEO. Scott Thompson, who is the president of PayPal – a division of eBay, will be leading the struggling internet giant from next Monday. He will also be appointed to Yahoo’s Board of Directors.

“Scott brings to Yahoo! a proven record of building on a solid foundation of existing assets and resources to reignite innovation and drive growth, precisely the formula we need at Yahoo!,” said Roy Bostock, Chairman of the Yahoo! Board. Under Thompson, PayPal grew from 50 million to more than 104 million active users in 190 countries worldwide, increasing the number of merchant partners to more than 8 million globally, and growing revenues from $1.8 billion to $4+ billion in 2011. Before his stint at PayPal, Thompson also worked as chief information officer at Barclays Global Investors.

Thompson’s name was suggested yesterday by Kara Swisher, but is otherwise somewhat of a surprise. He is the black horse that almost all industry analysts missed, and he certainly has his task cut out. Thanks to the lack of vision and clarity of Yahoo’s previous leaders, the internet giant is now a mere shadow of its former self. Yahoo arrogantly resisted Microsoft’s takeover attempt, and then later failed to find a buyer as its stock price continued to plummet. Yahoo failed to encourage and cultivate innovation, and instead drove away many of its talented engineers and leaders. In his statement, Thompson said, “Speed is important but we will attack both the opportunity ahead and the competitive challenges with an appropriate balance of urgency and thoughtfulness”. Let’s hope that he succeeds.

Ubuntu Software Center Adds PayPal Support to Payment Options

For any software center or app marketplace, integrating a payment mechanism involves managing fraud recognition and geographical tax constrains. Once these hurdles are crossed, it is merely a matter of technical integration. Ubuntu Software Center showcases some non-free games like Braid, that are extremely popular on other platforms. However, payment for purchase of paid games and apps has been a long-standing issue, for Ubuntu, because it supported only credit cards.

Following a discussion on AskUbuntu, I arrived at a page  on Ubuntu Brainstorm  a few months ago. It was a discussion on possible payment methods for Ubuntu Software Center with an ongoing voting. After almost six months, during which a tough battle ensued, support for PayPal payments beat third-party payment solutions by a small margin. PayPal support grabbed 127 votes, with bank plugins lagging behind at 120 votes. The idea has finally been implemented, and this brings in support for PayPal Payments in the Ubuntu Software Center, beside the regular Credit Card payment method.

All payments for app purchase are directed through “Ubuntu Pay”, a feature in the Ubuntu Software Center. After Ubuntu integrates  PayPal into the Software Center fully, users will be allowed to choose between Credit Card and PayPal payments before they proceed with the actual payment.

Canonical announced the integration saying,

It’s been a long time in development, but we’re finally drawing close to releasing Paypal support in Ubuntu Pay, the payment service behind Ubuntu Software Centre.  We’re aiming to launch this new feature before Christmas.

Not everyone might welcome this move, give the fact that it brings Ubuntu closer to closed-source and proprietary software. Moreover, PayPal’s shady business practices and steep exchange rates are not  appreciable  either. However, this PayPal integration will let Ubuntu application developers earn from worldwide app-sales in a hassle free way, and will attract new talents and developers to the Ubuntu app ecosystem.

Paypal Launches “Send Money” App on Facebook

Paypal has launched a new app on Facebook – Paypal – Send Money. It allows you to send money to your friends on Facebook with a couple of simple steps.

You can send money with a card or without one. Just login to the app, select a card, grant the app permissions to access your friend list once, select the friend you want to send money to, add a personal message, enter the amount you want to send, select the payment method, confirm the payment using your Paypal credentials, and you’re done.

Paypal Send Money

While there are a couple of good Paypal apps on Facebook already, this is as simple as it gets.

Additionally, there is no 30% transaction fee by Facebook, only the regular fee you would usually pay Paypal.

Paypal already has hundreds of millions of users worldwide, and now it can reach even more, thanks to Facebook’s huge user base.

It’ll probably become one of the most popular apps on Facebook, enabling personal micro-transactions in an easy way.

I’m assuming that if you send money to some friend who doesn’t have a Paypal account, he will be prompted to create one first. Paypal had initially used the same tactic with email, to expand its user base years ago. This could very well be the second coming of Paypal, after years of stagnation.

PayPal Incorrectly Limits Indian Accounts Over Different Name on PAN Issue, Here is How To Fix it

Since early 2011, PayPal has been a real nightmare for Indian users.

Rewinding: In order to comply with RBI guidelines, PayPal enforced two deadly rules for all Indian PayPal accounts. First, Indian users must empty entire PayPal funds to their bank accounts within 7 days of receiving a payment. Second and the worst of all, Indian users can never use funds in their PayPal account to buy goods, pay bills or even send the money to someone else. It is a one way street,   the ($) can check in any time she likes but she can not be transferred to a PayPal account of someone else’s. Unless you have a credit card linked to your PayPal account, Indian users can never send money, buy goods or pay for services.

In last couple of months, PayPal quietly rolled out auto withdrawal of Payments and waved off withdrawal fees for Indian users. This came as a surprise for many, since Indian users are not used to hear good news about PayPal’s changing policies and rules every now and then.

No sooner I realized that Okay, things have settled down, I can now peacefully go back to work, here he comes again.

A lot of Indian users are facing a typical problem of Invalid name on PAN, while the truth is that their names are actually same on both their PayPal accounts and PAN card. There is no way anyone can change their name on a PAN card which has already been registered with Govt of India, while on the other hand PayPal limits specific Indian accounts saying that Your PAN card is invalid.

The result is that until and unless a valid Pan number is added to a PayPal account, the user can not receive a payment. Makes no sense at all!

The Problem of Name Verification In PayPal and Indian PAN Card

Few days back, I logged into my Gmail account and was shocked to see an email from PayPal stating that my PayPal account has been limited from receiving payments.

paypal-account-limited

My initial reaction was Wait, what? I have already added my PAN number in PayPal, along with my Bank details, home address and a purpose code for withdrawing payments. Everything was fine just the other day, what happened all of a sudden? I will first check my PayPal account and see whether everything is fine or not

When I logged into my PayPal account, I saw this big red notification Your PayPal account access is limited

paypal-account-access-limited

For the sake of checking the receiving status of funds, I called up a friend who lives in U.S and asked him to send a small payment at my PayPal address.

Dang!

My friend could not send the payment and PayPal showed him this message:

unable-to-receive-money

So here is my PAN card (which can be registered only once in a lifetime).

indian-pan-card

And here is what I see when I try to update my PAN on my PayPal account:

paypal-glitch

If you are going through a similar situation, let me assure you that it is not your fault. This is probably a glitch in PayPal’s PAN verification system and there is no possible way to get over this other than convince PayPal staff that your PAN is correct and no action is possible from your side.

Here are a couple of things I did, in order to remove the PayPal PAN restriction:

1. Follow @AskPayPal on Twitter and tweet your problem to him. This guy is faster than the tech support staff of PayPal and he will surely respond to your Tweet.

2. Take out your camera and click images of your PAN card, Bank pass book and your Indian citizenship voter card. This is important, as the photo on your Indian voter card and the photo on your PAN will prove that you are the same person.

paypal-support-conversation

3. Login to your PayPal account, click the Contact uslink and send PayPal an email describing your problem in full detail. Here is a sample email template

Hello

My PayPal account has been restricted from receiving Payments. The cause stated in your email [date] is that my PAN was found to be invalid. The truth however, is that my PAN is valid and my name is same on my Bank Pass book, PayPal account and my PAN card. There is no way I can change my name with any of these organizations.

I have checked my Information with the Income tax department website of India.

  • The name on my PAN card is [Your name]
  • The name on my PayPal account is [Your Name]
  • The name on my Bank Account is   [Your name]

I have attached five documents as email attachments, let me know if the photocopies or scanned copies of any of these documents needs to be shipped at a physical address.

Enclosure:

A. The name as it appears on my PayPal account.
B. The Name as it appears on the income tax website.
C. The name as it appears on my Bank pass book and bank cheque book.
D. The name as it appears in my PAN card (Photo identification).
E. My Voter ID card which proves that I am an Indian citizen (photo identification).

Please let me know what should I do now.

4. Hold on for a day or two and you should hear from PayPal soon. In my case, they sent me an email stating that Your PayPal account has been restored.

paypal-account-restored

Phew!

Thank you Pallab.

Breaking: RBI Raises PayPal Receiving Limit to $3000 for Indian Accounts

PayPal has just sent an email stating that the receiving limits for Indian accounts has been raised to $3000 per transaction from the previous $500.

In the recent past, PayPal and RBI have been problematic for Indian users. First off they started out by suspending Indian Payments for which I wrote a long and personal rant. Secondly, they asked Indian users to add PAN (Permanent Account Numbers) and also stopped electronic withdrawals in India for a brief period.

Thirdly, they stopped PayPal India users from buying anything with their PayPal account. This created a huge problem for millions of PayPal users and I had the chance to talk to a past RBI employee and find out the facts about why PayPal was being restricted.

However, after almost 18 months of turmoil, PayPal and RBI seem to have patched up and they are now allowing Indian users to receive up to $3000 per transaction from the earlier limit of $500 per transaction. In an email sent to PayPal India users, PayPal says:

Dear user,

We are pleased to inform you that the RBI will now allow you to receive export-related payments of up to USD 3000 per transaction into your PayPal account, effective immediately.

We sincerely thank you for your understanding and patience over the past few months as we continue to implement the changes required to remain compliant with the RBI guidelines. With these changes completed, you can confidently accept PayPal for your cross-border transactions with our global buyer base of over 100 million active accounts in 190 markets worldwide. We look forward to continuing to support your export business through our global online payment platform.

To comply with the RBI guidelines, you must add a Permanent Account Number (PAN), Purpose Code and local bank account to your PayPal account in order to continue receiving export-related payments.

Users still need to have a purpose code for receiving payments and you can find that in a Purpose Code for PayPal PDF we had created earlier.

PayPal also recently launched auto withdrawal of funds from Indian accounts and then removed the withdrawal fees as well. However, it also messed up by screwing up validation of PAN numbers for Indian users.

All in all, this sounds like a pretty sweet deal from RBI and PayPal to solve the issues Indian users faced and should be helpful to young entrepreneurs and freelancers to get their money hassle free.

PayPal Begins Validating Pan Numbers of Indian Accounts, Ends up Targeting Valid Accounts

PayPal has been nothing short of a nightmare for Indian users. For the past several months, it has been a story of one step forward and two steps backward. After screwing Indian users over and over again, they announced a couple of helpful measures over the past few weeks. Unfortunately, PayPal’s latest move will all but undo whatever little goodwill it had managed to garner.

PayPal has been demanding PAN card numbers from all Indian users for a long time. Many users worked around this restriction by simply providing fake PAN card numbers as PayPal didn’t do any validation. However, beginning today, PayPal will be limiting accounts with invalid PAN numbers. Limited accounts will not be able to receive payments. However, they can still be used for sending payments and making online purchases using linked credit cards.

PayPal-Pan-Card-Validation

The trouble with PayPal’s latest move is that its verification system appears to be pretty dodgy. Two Techie Buzz staff members, including yours truly, have had their accounts limited in spite of furnishing correct PAN card numbers. Given PayPal’s long standing policy of shooting first and asking questions later, it’s not surprising that they chose to act without giving the account holders any opportunity to respond. Let’s just hope that they will get around to fixing this issue soon.

PayPal Removes Fund Withdrawal Fees For Indian Users

When it comes to online trade or transaction of money, PayPal is still a name bigger than anyone else. Sure there are quite a good number of PayPal alternatives  but none of them have the trust factorPayPal commands.

Since March 1st 2011, PayPal has been giving a chain of headaches to Indian users. They practically screwed Indians by locking the exit door for payments and according to the new rule no Indian PayPal user can use funds from his/her PayPal account to buy goods, pay bills or send the money to any other PayPal user. All the funds in your PayPal account must be withdrawn to your Bank account within 7 days or else the payment will be returned to the sender.

The next rule plunged the final nail in the coffin   – Indian PayPal users can not receive payments that are more than $500. A single transaction from any PayPal account to the PayPal account of an Indian user must not cross $500. This rule is still in effect, so a lot of freelancers and web workers are still under The PayPal curse.

However, PayPal has been silently tweaking their fund withdrawal system for the past couple of weeks. First they introduced an auto-withdrawal system for Indian users which will automatically withdraw all the PayPal balance to your Bank account. This is magic but there is a slight disadvantage, in case you frequently get small payments in your PayPal account.

PayPal charges a withdrawal fee of INR 50, for every fund withdrawal that’s below INR 7000. So if you receive INR 2000 on 1st, INR 3000 on 4th and INR 4000 on 6th you lose an amount of INR 150. This is because the auto-withdrawal system will automatically refund the money within one day and since each of these amounts are less than INR 7000, a withdrawal fee of INR 50 will be charged for every fund withdrawal request.

You could have saved that INR 150, if you withdrew all the money on 6th as the gross amount is more than INR 7000. Agree that the withdrawal fees is a meager amount but would you tear a $1 or 10 rupee note every other day? There is no point in losing your money in thin air however large or small it might be.

Now the other good news for Indian PayPal users is that PayPal has recently removed their withdrawal fee from funds withdrawal system which means, no longer you have to pay any fund withdrawal fee for whatever amount you withdraw to your bank. You can withdraw $1 or $1000 no withdrawal fee will be charged.

I tested this by withdrawing a sum of $42 and it worked like a charm

no-paypal-fees

 

This is indeed good news for small businesses and freelancers who often get frequent payments that don’t add up to INR 7000. No need to worry about your PayPal funds they will now work on Auto-pilot mode and you never have to pay anything to the pilot. Ever!

PayPal Quietly Rolls Out Autowithdrawl Of Funds Only For Indian Users

If you are based in India and have been using PayPal for quite some time, you might be aware of the new PayPal law for Indian users – brought in effect from March 1st 2011.

According to the rule:

1. Any balance in and all future payments into your PayPal account may not be used to buy goods or services and must be transferred to your bank account in India within 7 days from the receipt of confirmation from the buyer in respect of the goods or services.

2. Export-related payments for goods and services into your PayPal account may not exceed US$500 per transaction.

This law was put forward after Reserve bank of India laid out a couple of new guidelines for all organizations that participate in the transaction and storage of money, whether online or offline.

Short answer is that after March 1st, 2011, no Indian user could buy anything using the money stored in their PayPal account and they have to mandatorily withdraw all the money to their bank within 7 days. If anyone fails to withdraw, the money will automatically be refunded to the sender.

Some Consequences Of The New PayPal Law Enforced On Indians

1. If you go on a vacation for two weeks and remain offline during that time, chances are that any money received on your PayPal account will automatically be returned to the sender.

2. If you don’t have a credit card linked with your PayPal account, you won’t be able to buy anything online. Worst thing is that you won’t be able to pay your hosting fees and any online bills because after March 1st, PayPal requires a credit card for all outgoing payments from your account. This came as a shock to Indian PayPal users like me who don’t have a credit card and they used to pay their bills from the money they obtained from Freelancing or by providing other online services.

Auto withdraw Funds From PayPal to Your Bank Account

Looks like PayPal has loosened some grip from Indian users and has rolled out an update in its fund withdrawal system. You can now enable auto withdrawal of PayPal funds to your Bank account by logging into PayPal and going to Profile > Add /Edit bank account.

paypal-auto-withdrawl

If you have only one bank account added to your PayPal account, it will be made the default option for auto withdrawal of funds. However, if you have multiple bank accounts added and verified, you can choose to which bank the funds should be withdrawn automatically.

This is an Indian regulatory requirement and applies to all PayPal users in India. Which means, there is no option to opt out of PayPal auto withdrawal system.

In it’s FAQ page, PayPal says

Your PayPal balance is auto withdrawn to your local bank account in India daily. You can check your bank account within 5-7 working days after your funds have been auto withdrawn from your PayPal account.

When The Auto Withdrawal System Can Result In Slight Loss?

Lets say you receive $150 from John on 1st June and $100 from Harry on 5th June.

Now according to this new system, the $150 will be automatically withdrawn to bank within 2nd June and the $100 will be automatically withdrawn to bank on 6th June. Since both $150 and $100 are less than INR 7000, PayPal will deduct a small fee amount of Rs 50 on both withdrawals. Which means, you lose INR 100 just because the auto withdrawal system is in effect.

Earlier, you could have manually withdrawn the gross amount of $250 to your bank on 6th June and need not pay any withdrawal fee whatsoever. I agree the fee amount is not that large but considering the exchange rate fluctuations, the little amount of control has been snatched from your hands. There is nothing you can do with your PayPal balance, as it will auto withdraw itself from now on.

Fed up of PayPal? Consider some online payment alternatives.

Thanks Mayur Agarwal for the tip.

 

#OpPayPal is the New Hacktivist Operation from LulzSec and Anonymous

I think I should start this post by stating that there is a blurred distinction between Anonymous and LulzSec in the shady realms of the internet. Even in the face of this harsh reality, I have general contempt for the immature and mischevious LulzSec while I am not apathetic to Anonymous who are generally a more mature lot.

paypal

Considering the little amount of mayhem that LulzSec caused and the disproportionately high amount of chest thumping they gave themselves, they always seem to be on the threshold of quitting. Their latest communiqué comes at the heels of Anonymous’ #OpPayPal (the hashtag on Twitter for operation PayPal) a worldwide boycott of PayPal because they are still not allowing donations to Wikileaks and threatens PayPal with cracking into their vaults (emphasis added):-

The hateful fiends at PayPal have unleashed FBI sea dogs to hunt down some of the more beloved members of our battlefleet. That is why we have decided to raise anchor and leave harbour for one final journey on the seven proxseas. We’ve set our LulzCannon’s sights on the smarmy pirates of PayPal and will take no prisoners. They have not kept their most important booty safe. We find this very troubling, as it is not even their booty! Take this as a warning from your friendly LulzBoat captain. Wise little LulzLizards should withdraw their funds from PayPal before we do.

The LulzSec twitter account is also buzzing with a lot of anti-PayPal propaganda and suggesting a lot of alternatives for the service. We are not great fans of PayPal ourselves, but at least we do not break into the accounts of customers and steal their hard-earned money. It seems LulzSec is threatening to do exactly that.

lulzpaypal

Are you listening PayPal? Even if it is an empty threat, you should secure your network just to be safe.