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 Posted: Thu Feb 28th, 2019 04:12 pm
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Aaron Hardy
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It was suggested I repost this across the forums for everyone’s benefit. This is probably not new information for many of you, but since so many of us transact using PayPal and other money transfer services, hopefully some of you find it helpful:


If you use PayPal and maintain a cash balance in your account, you may have received a notice recently asking for your SSN. You have two options here: provide your SSN or close your Cash Account (i.e., don’t maintain a cash balance) with PayPal. If you choose to not maintain a cash balance, you’ll have to provide a current bank debit or credit card as recourse to continue using your PayPal Account if you haven’t already done so. 


The bottom line is PayPal is not a bank, but they are a non-bank financial institution/money transmitter, and they are required to identify (name, DOB, and address) and verify the identity of customers maintaining a cash account with them. Your Tax Identification Number (SSN, ITIN, etc.) is the way they verify identification. This request is not illegal, inappropriate, or unjustified, and you do have the option of not doing business with them. Also, the TIN request has nothing to do with taxes. It’s a requirement of the Consumer Financial Protection Burearu (CFPB).


(There are tax/IRS ID requirements for businesses or persons transacting over certain limits, but those are different. I can’t comment on those as they’re not my area of expertise.)


Those of you that are wary of phishing emails are well to do so! No financial institution, including PayPal, will ever ask you to send personal identifying information to them by responding to an email. NEVER respond with personal identifying information to an email requesting you to do so and avoid clicking any links in such an email. Here are some steps you should follow with any request to update personal information from a trusted institution you already do business with: 
• Open a new browser window, preferably a secure or encrypted window – security software such as Kapersky, MacAfee or Keeper offer these.
• Use the new window to log into the business or financial institution’s site as you normally would.
• Follow instructions on their site or in the email notice to locate the page or form where the requested changes or updates are necessary.
• Enter the information, save your changes, and log out.
• If you have questions, DO NOT call any numbers or email any addresses located in the email you received. Instead, use phone numbers or chat options located on your provider’s own website or on the back of your debit or credit card issued by the financial institution.

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 Posted: Thu Feb 28th, 2019 08:48 pm
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Steve Sherwood
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Scams are everywhere. I get scam notifications from "banks" I have never done business with. They tell me my account has been hacked and they want personnel information. Common sense is all you need. Delete these e mails.

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 Posted: Thu Feb 28th, 2019 10:38 pm
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Lane Shirey
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The big question, are they trustworthy to keep my SS# secure?  That’s my issue.  My banks have it, but if PP is hacked , so is my SS. 

Hmmm, not sure which way to go with this.  Aaron, thanks for providing your direct insight.  I love this organization,  there are folks from every walk of life! 

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 Posted: Thu Feb 28th, 2019 11:11 pm
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Mark Olson
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To the original post, that is the best explanation that I have seen to date, on this subject.
All questions are answered. If only PayPal would make it so clear.
I was wondering why some people were upset about this and I wasn't.
Now I know. I don't keep a PayPal balance.

Last edited on Thu Feb 28th, 2019 11:12 pm by Mark Olson

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 Posted: Thu Feb 28th, 2019 11:29 pm
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Aaron Hardy
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Lane Shirey wrote: The big question, are they trustworthy to keep my SS# secure?  That’s my issue.  My banks have it, but if PP is hacked , so is my SS. 

Hmmm, not sure which way to go with this.  Aaron, thanks for providing your direct insight.  I love this organization,  there are folks from every walk of life!

Lane, the sad reality is your SSN is already available on the dark web along with enough other identifying information to effectively steal your identity. The bright side is identity theft fraud is not as lucrative as it once was, and, with the millions of identities available to would-be fraudsters, you have roughly the same odds of winning a local lottery as having your identity selected for exploitation. Today's fraudsters are more interested in account takeover, card-not-present, and email compromise fraud, among other types, where there is more instant gratification. My fraud investigator reviews cases *every day* where people have fallen prey to every kind of scam you can imagine because people surrender common sense. 
The fact is your SSN is safe with PayPal until it's not. Then again, it probably doesn't matter anyway. The more important thing is being vigilant and not falling for phishing or other schemes.

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 Posted: Fri Mar 1st, 2019 01:15 pm
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Gunner Lake
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I'll have to close my account because of this. It was made in my mother's name 15+ years ago though I've been the primary user the whole time. Paypal refuses to change the name on the account. Their service rep advised me that my account "wasn't long for this world" due to the name and SSN mismatches. At least I was able to transfer out my balance...

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 Posted: Fri Mar 1st, 2019 01:58 pm
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Aaron Hardy
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Here’s a link to a good article on some of the more prevalent types of fraud: https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/20-types-of-identity-theft-and-fraud/

I overstated the unlikeliness of identify theft as there are many forms of identity theft which you’ll see in this article. What I was referring to was we don’t see a lot of classic identity theft because most institutions require a government-issued photo ID to open accounts and that is too much work for most fraudsters. What we do see is a lot of malware and spyware attacks, phishing, and (believe it or not) romance scams. These are the more favored ways of obtaining the personal identifying information fraudsters need to exploit you. Typically, they are looking for more than an SSN. Nonetheless, tax season is coming up, so there will be a spike in tax refund fraud as well. Refund fraud is a popular fraud scheme involving your SSN. Track your refund status carefully and check with the IRS to make sure no one has filed a fraudulent claim under your SSN.

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 Posted: Fri Mar 1st, 2019 02:01 pm
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Aaron Hardy
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I’ll hop off my soapbox now and return you to the normal fan programming.

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 Posted: Fri Mar 1st, 2019 02:44 pm
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Tom Zapf
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THE BIG QUESTION IS ARE WE SUPPOSED TO GO ON TO PAYPAL AND ADD OUR SSN OR NOT?  I GOT THAT MESSAGE TOO, WENT ON TO PAYPAL AND DID NOT LEAVE MY SSN AND IT ACCEPTED MY CHANGES 

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 Posted: Fri Mar 1st, 2019 03:37 pm
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Aaron Hardy
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Tom, you don’t have to provide your SSN if you do not open a balance account with them. Come March 29, if you want maintain and use a balance in your PayPal account, you will have to open a PayPal Cash or PayPal Cash Plus account to do so. This will require you providing your SSN for ID verification. If you associate a bank account, credit or bank debit card to your PayPal account, you can continue using it without having to provide your SSN, but you will not be able to maintain a balance with PayPal. Any funds will post or debit to your bank account or credit card. https://www.paypal.com/us/smarthelp/article/faq3996

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 Posted: Sun Mar 3rd, 2019 12:00 am
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Charlie Forster
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Thank You Aaron

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 Posted: Sun Mar 3rd, 2019 12:51 am
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Aaron Hardy
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You're welcome Charlie.

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