Anonymous PayPal employee to answer questions

67

PayPal offers a convenient service for sending, spending, and receiving money online.  They also offer the PayPal My Cash card which can be used for manufacturing spend.  It’s possible to buy My Cash cards with credit cards, then load the money to your PayPal account, then withdraw the money in various ways.  For those seeking credit card rewards, it sounds perfect.  Unfortunately, PayPal will almost certainly freeze your account if you do this often.  And, when they freeze your account, they won’t let you use or withdraw funds for 6 months.   I recently warned people away from this technique in the post “Beware buying PayPal My Cash cards.”

AnonymousPayPal

In response to my warning post, I received an intriguing email:

Hello,

For reasons of keeping my identity hidden I have created a new email account to contact you about PayPal MyCash. I currently work for PayPal and am privy to a lot of info that might help your readers out. I would love to answer some questions regarding shutdowns and hopefully clarify the issue. I am a frequent traveler and I understand the need for manufactured spend and I don’t want those that do it to be punished as this is something I do myself. [..edited…]. I have to do this anonymously because I could lose my job since I am not acting in any official capacity, but I feel the need to help out my fellow frequent milers. Let me know if you would like to set something up.

Thank You

Anonymous PayPal employee

I was, of course, extremely interested.  I did worry, though, that this could be a prank by an internet troll hoping to humiliate me.  So, I asked for proof that they were really a PayPal employee.  I promised to keep the information confidential, of course.  In response, Anonymous PayPal employee (hereafter referred to as Anonymous) sent convincing evidence.  Of course I still can’t rule out the possibility of an internet troll going to great lengths to prove their false story, but I think its unlikely.  I’m convinced enough to risk it.

Process

I’ll start the ball rolling by asking several questions myself within this post.  Then, readers can add their own additional questions.  When I receive answers from Anonymous, I’ll follow up with one or more posts to report the answers.

My Questions

Here are my questions for Anonymous:

  1. Do you know of any safe way to use PayPal to manufacture spend?  Is there a pattern of use that will avoid shutdown?
  2. Once an account is frozen, is there any way to get it re-opened in good standing?  In my experience, all appeals (via phone or email) get rejected without any chance to plead one’s case.  I would love the opportunity to prove that I’m not the money launderer they seem to believe I am.
  3. Once an account is frozen, is there a good way to get access to frozen funds in less than the stated 6 months?
  4. I’ve found that, after having an account frozen, it is possible to create a new account just by using new email address.  Later, though, when I requested funds from my frozen account, my new account was frozen even though I hadn’t done anything with the new account that should have raised suspicion (grrrr).  Assuming there’s no good way to reestablish a frozen account, can you recommend a good way to establish a new account that is less likely to be shut down?

Your questions

If you have additional questions for Anonymous, please add your questions to the comments section, below.  Please try not to duplicate questions others have asked.  Before writing your question, refresh the page and read through the comments section to see the latest reader input.

If you have private questions, you can email them to me (frequentmiler at gmail dot com) and I’ll pass them along.

0 0 votes
Post Rating

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

67 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

[…] response to a post about PayPal freezing accounts, an anonymous PayPal employee stepped forward and offered to answer our questions.  In this post, I’ve re-written and summarized answers to four such questions.  More questions […]

R.

I wonder how the costs of PPMC are divided between the store (say CVS), incomm, and PP. Who gets the $4? who pays the CC processing fees?
Does PP actually lose money when someone buys, loads and liquidates PPMC quickly?

Victor

Sub

[…] response to a recent post about PayPal freezing accounts, an anonymous PayPal employee stepped forward and offered to answer our questions.  In this post, I’ve summarized answers to three such questions.  Many more questions will be […]

Dave

sub

Eee

What about using mycash funds loaded to PP then paying your PP Extras card down with the funds?

[…] response to a recent post about PayPal freezing accounts, an anonymous PayPal employee stepped forward and offered to answer our questions.  In this post, I’ve summarized answers to two such questions.  Many more questions […]

LJM

I used to use Paypal Debit cards to load Serve Cards. I would purchase PP MyCash, load my account, and load my Serve cards. I never had a problem doing this. I would also occasionally buy money orders. Then I also began loading Nationwide Visas with my PP debit cards, and within a week for my account, and a couple of months for my husband’s account, I got a “warning letter”. I believe the fact that I was earning 1% cash back on these loads may have drawn attention to my account. Upon receipt of the letter, I immediately suspended all manufactured spend activity for the associated account.

I consider it too dangerous to risk losing mine and my husband’s Paypal accounts, as I often buy and sell things, especially on ebay, so the risk of losing the accounts is too great. I would now like to purchase PPMC cards and use Paypal Debit cards only to pay bills, which I would consider to be within the terms of the agreement. However, I have heard of people who previously engaged in MS activities getting shut down for using PPMC cards to pay bills, even when their use is totally legitimate. So I haven’t loaded or used PPMC cards since receiving the warning letter. I have NEVER loaded an account with PPMC and then withdrawn the funds to a checking account, I always purchased money orders or loaded Serve cards with them.

Given the above:
1. Is Paypal more likely to be alerted to MS activities if the activities are earning 1% cash back via the Paypal Debit card?
2. If you have previously engaged in MS activities and received a warning letter, then begin loading your account with PPMC cards and using the Paypal Debit card to pay legitimate bills like car insurance, for example, do you still have chance of getting shut down? Does it matter what type of MS activities you engaged in in the past?

These questions are mostly academic for me, since there is no good alternative to Paypal anymore and so I won’t risk my account with them, but I am curious. Thanks for your help!

Cyclops

When should we expect to see some answers?

Dan

Thanks. Sub.

M$

Sub

Aram

You know already what’s the most important question.. How to avoid shut down? Should we at all MS with PP? Once 2 years ago I bought PP my cash and I can’t sleep since why even to sell it?

What about PPDG ? Real limits, how many accounts one can have, why it tells me to use different method of payment

If you’re MSer and not PP spying or testing the waters then you know the relevant questions, why don’t you start with answering them

aftrhrs

sub

Sol

Sub

K.O.Stan

it seems no one has any questions, which is weird. it is too suspicious why would he want to help us? there is nothing there for him… what’s his interest? just to help us? risking his job?… anyways, let’s see what happens next. thank you FM!

Vic

You have to click “previous comments”

There are a whole bunch of questions posted.

K.O.Stan

thank you, Vic!

chris

FM,
subscribe.

Will you answer the questions in the comment or you will post a new entry?

chris

Vic

sub

Tory

Does Paypal freeze accounts for shuffling money around banks? I’m not using Mycash or MSing in anyway, but trying to trigger bank account bonuses by moving money between my bank accounts and hoping it counts as direct deposit.

Brian

MSnowden! #respect

Todd

Would sole purchases of paypal cash cards > ppbmc for radpad (in a large, legitimate amount, let’s say $2000) get flagged / lead to shutdown (reoccurring every month)?

LMS

Sub

Vader

Why does PayPal shut down accounts for this at all? They’re making money on each part of the loop. (Fee on MyCash, interest on money held, and transaction fee using PayPal Debit Card) There are already reasonable limits in place that cover both how quickly one can load their account ($500/day) and how much they can load ($4000/month) with MyCash. Also, there is nothing in the terms of MyCash or the PayPal Debit Card that the funds could not be used in this manner.

Then, why were accounts shut down after ceasing MyCash activities as instructed in the warning letter? Why not just prohibit those accounts from loading with MyCash? From a customer service standpoint, PayPal blew away a lot of loyalty and good accounts with little or no communication and explanation. Was there any discussion about a different way to handle manufactured spenders?

Tory

I’ll go ahead and answer this…the MyCash load –> bank account withdrawal loop looks like money laundering. How would you legitimize lots of illegally-earned cash? Money orders, Serve, Reloadit, and MyCash. Paypal is a relatively young company and wants no part of anything like that so they are quick to shut us down for raising any suspicion.

anthonyjh21

As is the case with many readers, I use eBay as a MS tool (including eBay gift cards of course).

I won’t list the dozens of questions one could ask about the relationship between PayPal and eBay but I would love to know if Anonymous would be willing to provide any tips or general insight into how one may safely navigate the treacherous waters of what is otherwise known as an eBay transaction while using PayPal. There are so many various hangups, error codes, undisclosed account limits, temporary blocks etc that drive a lot of people crazy and I’m sure I’m not the only mushroom here looking for answers.

Brad Meyer

This is gonna be good!!

Flyer

I use Paypal not to manufacture spend, but in fact, purchase Cash cards and pay my landlord that way (just so I can use a credit card to pay my rent). So my monthly cash card amount is transferred to my landlord. How will this affect my account standing?

Chuck

1. Have you even seen frozen accounts for things that are unrelated to PPMCC, for example the use of PPBDC? This question is referring to the scenario that there not obscene amounts of money being pushed through the account. For illustration purposes, let’s assume the amount in less the $5k per month.

2. If someone has eBay gift cards attached to the frozen Paypal account, how can they get their funds back, short of filing legal complaints against eBay or Paypal?

3. Suppose someone who has a frozen Paypal account waits the 6 months and then closes that account down. Will they then be able to open a new Paypal account in good standing with their SSN etc.?
(This is similar to FM Q #5, but I’m wondering if the issue usually is the fact that the frozen Paypal account is still open. Perhaps after completely shutting down the old Paypal account after 6 months, it will be easier to reestablish a relationship.)

churn_or_burn

I believe you are getting trolled

DSha

Awesome Questions. I tried to read twice but couldn’t find. when can we expect answers?

Leigh

Just a note to the two of you to say Thanks! I think any question I could have has already been asked. This should be awesome!

JustSaying

I appreciate both of you doing this. I would love to reopen my PP debit card. That was of tremendous use Lead and we will follow MSnowden. Otherwise I’ll just have to continue to boycott eBay.

Kevin

Agree with Love to Fly. Seriously, you’ve gotta edit his email before someone at PayPal sees it or he’s gonna lose his job or, at the very least, his ability to answer your questions: [..edited…] Seems like this would make it pretty easy for the company to identify him. I want to know his responses to the questions, but it’s not worth getting fired over.

Love to Fly

Kevin,

You just reproduced the offending text in a comment here while the blogger edited it out. Can you delete your comment?

Carl

My questions are asked but I add to the people that urge a re-write to the PP employee statements so as to help protect his or her identity.

Graydon

This is going to be awesome. Thanks for the post and a huge thank you to Anonymous for the help.

EugeneV

After I received a warning email from Paypal regarding loading MyCash onto the account and withdrawing the funds, I stopped this activity immediately. However, about three months later they closed my account anyway. I could demonstrate that I abided by their warning, but I have no idea who to talk to and how to appeal this.

I also have an eBay gift card tied to this closed account – any way to salvage it now?

Since I stopped loading MyCash, I had a couple of packs laying around for a while. I tried loading them later (while the account was still open), when I needed to pay for a large eBay purchase, and discovered that MyCash reloads had been drained already. They were in my possession at all times, had no sign of tampering, and pins remained sealed. Incomm rejected my disputes, claiming that I must have provided the pins voluntary to a third party. They would not reveal which Paypal account the funds had been loaded to. CFPB closed my case because they do not regulate ITC Financial Licenses, IC3 has done nothing about it, and BBB did not help either. I’d file a CFPB complaint against Paypal, but like I said, I don’t know enough details.

I also had my Paypal Business Debit Card (linked to an unrelated business Paypal account) closed at the request of Bancorp, while the Paypal account remains open. Is there any way to appeal it or even get in touch with Bancorp Risk Dept?

Afam-Dfw

MyCash is regulated by state money services regulators, usually the state banking comission. Look to state regulator for help. I had to do that for Texas.

My question is that I got the shutdown after using the my cash to fund real purchases. What is the intended use?

Love to Fly

DUDE. Take his email off of the post. You posted it verbatim and there are very identifying things there. He will get fired. Take it down.

Eric

That’s a very good point. […edited…] I predict the person gets scared off and doesn’t answer anything now.

Don

Subscribe – awesome post

So much frustration comes from not knowing the rules – trying to piece together from data points. Would be great if this source was only the first and that others at different financial institutions would be willing to share their rules.

CopperHog

Q: What’s the cost of MS to your institution? Paypal seems to go to great lengths, and expend significant resources, circumventing users’ MS efforts. How do they measure the cost, and how do they plan for what resources to allocate to thwarting MS activities?

And a suggestion for FM … give your source a better name than Anonymous! How about MSnowden or PaypalLeaks or something? The guy is going to great lengths to provide info, give him a respectable name!

Ryan

Why are so many people saying subscribe?

Eric

Are you the same Ryan that wrote “subscribe” above? If so, why are you trolling? If not, the reason is to receive follow up comments by email.

Ryan

I have better things to do than troll on the internet…it was not me.

NoonRadar

Once, a PayPal employee told me I couldn’t use PayPal for bank bonuses. I was transferring money from a couple of banks to PayPal then withdrawing it to another checking account/bank for the purpose of getting a sign up bonus with that bank’s checking account. I didn’t need to use PayPal, but didn’t know that would get me in trouble, I stopped doing that.

Question 1: What would be a trigger point in such cases for someone at PayPal to take a look at the account, as far as how many new checking accounts linked to PayPal during a certain time and/or how many transfers or overall amount? I’m guessing new PayPal accounts would trigger sooner, my acct wasn’t new.

Question 2: Does PayPal care to distinguish between fraudulent transactions and manufactured spending or other things we do for miles and cash back?

Question 3: Is there any internal PayPal data (figures, percentages) or discussion/memos about manufacture spending?

Question 4: Does PayPal now exchange any info with eBay about flagged or frozen accounts (social security numbers) or any such things?

Question 5: How much does PayPal care if people open and/or use another PayPal account that is not on their name and what does PayPal do to identify and prevent such cases? (I’m asking this in case my PayPal acct gets frozen in the future as it has happen to so many ms-ers, though I don’t plan to risk it.)

Thank you for doing this. I’m guessing it wouldn’t be too long before PayPal stumbles on this thread (I’m guessing there’s at least one person in that company that combs the internet regularly with keyword searches), so try to change your writing/expression style when answering our questions.

Marshall

A little off topic, but what are the PP monetary purchase limits when buying gift cards thru PP digital gifts (assuming it isn’t a sale with a per customer limit)? Is there a total limit for a purchase amount you can make thru eBay using PP? Does the age of your account on PP matter when making eBay purchases in terms of it not going thru because of “fraud” concerns? Is there any way to get the fraud hold on an eBay purchase waived?

Jeff

1) Thanks so much to you and Anonymous. Greatly appreciated.

2) Would you consider rephrasing Anonymous’ statements? Reason I ask is everybody has their own style of communicating. I expect it would be pretty easy for my company to figure out who the “anonymous” source was if I was sharing information with a blogger and it was being posted verbatim. Just a suggestion to protect your source (perhaps you are doing this already).

David

Good point. It might be a bit extreme to expect of PayPal in this instance, but the field if forensic linguistics has exploded alongside the social media boom with author identification being a common goals. It is a relatively simple task and might not be very nice for Anonymous if PayPal did identify him.

Curtis

Close to one mentioned above, but I would really like some information on how we can use these cards even without blatantly doing manufactured spending. It is pretty ridiculous that you cannot use MyCash cards as they are designed without risk of apparent shutdown (or perhaps we’ve been misinformed). PayPal has no idea if you bought the MyCash card with CC or Cash. That’s up to the merchant to decide how to accept payment. Why would paypal ever shutdown someone’s account for loading via MyCash and then using those funds for real purchases and payments to people?

Louis

Having the backend information that s/he does, which MS tactics does s/he use?

What percentage of frozen accounts does s/he estimate are MS folks and not money launderers?

Jeff

Is there any activity with the load cards that is totally safe? I have heard that even using them to pay for legitimate goods and services can be a problem.

Tuck

I frequently pay my dog sitter with PayPal. I’d love to earn 5% by buying PPMC at a grocery or office supply store, and then using the funds to pay her. Legit?

Dave

My question is a bit more basic which I believe was above

Does someone from PayPal monitor blogs and such? Also how much of a priority is nipping manufacturer spend in the butt? It sounds like many companies are aware of it but likely don’t think it’s a big enough issue to directly put controls against it.

brteacher

I load PPMC and use PPDMC to pay my Citi bill over the phone. Is this allowed?

Lantean

excellent question, i would like to know this too! 🙂

whitney

my question so far covered above but I really want to thank the anonymous employee for doing this!!!

TravelBloggerBuzz

Why do you work in such an evil company?

NetSpender

Your “evil” is my “generous paycheck” w favorable benefits.

Sway

What an idiotic question. You have no problem using the company to further your M$ goals but, you have an issue with this person getting a paycheck?

Eric

That’s a great point. Also, what makes PayPal evil? I’ve had to call them several times about various issues but that hardly makes them evil. Incompetent would be closer to the truth.

Chris W.

Is there a “safe” amount of mypaypal cash cards to load each month?

Dan

@fm – I assume your source must feel confident that conducting a q&a in such a manner is safe. Does anyone from PayPal monitor blogs such as this in an official or semi-official capacity?

Dee

Will loading a Serve account with a PayPal Business Debit card repeatedly ever lead to a PayPal shutdown?