Last Updated on December 11, 2022 by David Vause
I had a scare on PayPal recently. I have just a few accounts that I consider very high value. PayPal is one of them. I got a text message from PayPal that I had a new money request from Baro Saro for $450.00 USD. Now I didn’t know what a payment request was, and this sent up immediate alarm bells.
I logged into PayPal and found the message to the right. Normally, I am suspicious of any unrequested phone number in SMS, email, and on the web. However, I was highly alarmed and incentivized to handle this issue. Feeling safer since I was inside my presumably rock-solid PayPal enclave, I called the number. I got an attendant in what sounded like a call center speaking to me in a south Asian accent in what appeared to be a call center. I explained that I had no idea who or what Baro Saro was and had no idea how my account was unlawfully accessed.
The attendant told me that I needed to contact PayPal security. I replied, asking him how anyone could get past the two-factor authentication that I have configured on my account. Instead of answering me directly, he told me that I needed to go to PayPal’s security website and started trying to give me a website address. Because of his accent, I could not understand all the characters of the address. We went back and forth for some time, with me misunderstanding letters. I tried to communicate with the NATO Phonetic Alphabet, but he did not seem to know it.
We laboriously worked through “www.supremofree.com.” I asked him why this wasn’t a PayPal site, but he didn’t directly answer that either. My suspicion grew since I did not entirely trust the phone number I had been given. While I had begun my search for the website in the address bar, I preceded the web address with “is” and appended “safe?” Google did not disappoint. This site can be used by a third party to gain access to one’s computer.
I tried to file a complaint against Baro Saro inside of PayPal, but all I could get was chatbots trying to help me with other issues. Trying to delete the request, I was directed to the PayPal Terms and Conditions. There, I found anyone can send a payment request. The T&C’s indicate that a party that gets sent too many requests that are canceled would be in violation of the user agreement. So, I satisfied myself by Cancelling the request. There seems to be no other recourse.