When a viewer from Duxbury tried to close her PayPal account, she says she was stunned that the company asked for her personal information to shut it down. Concerned about her privacy, she reached out to NBC10 Boston Responds for help.
Diane Lilly has been a PayPal account holder for two years.
“I never used it,” Lilly said. “It just remained open.”
Lilly said she was surprised when she received an email from PayPal in June, alerting her to fraudulent activity on her account. She thought the email itself might be bogus.
“I was suspicious of it, and then I called them,” Lilly said. “There had been a log on, and where I hadn't had any activity in two years, to them it was suspicious, so they put a limitation on the account.”
Lilly said PayPal froze her account, and when she wanted to close the account entirely, she couldn't. She said PayPal told her, in order to close her account, she had to verify her I.D. by sending a copy of her driver's license or passport information—something she refused to do.
“I said that's the craziest thing I ever heard,” Lilly said. “I said to PayPal, if I didn't need those documents to open the account, why do I need them to close the account?”
PayPal confirmed with us that that is indeed their policy, telling NBC10 Boston: "In line with federal regulatory requirements, before we can perform certain functions like closing an account, we’ll ask customers to confirm personal information such as proof of identification."
“We went round and round on that point,” Lilly said.
She said she hit a stalemate with PayPal, so she turned to NBC10 Boston Responds for help. We shared Diane's privacy concerns with PayPal and a customer service representative contacted her.
“She said this time we are making an exception,” Lilly said. “I don't think that PayPal would have resolved the situation for me if NBC10 Boston hadn't gotten involved and called them.”
PayPal has some tips on how to identify whether an email you receive is really coming from them. The company says to be on the lookout for emails that greet you generically, like “Dear Customer” or “Dear PayPal member.” PayPal says it will always greet you by your first and last name and that you should look for outdated logos and grammatical errors — that's a sign that the email is fake.
Keep in mind PayPal's address will always read: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you suspect that someone is trying to scam you, contact PayPal customer service immediately.