- What the hell are they thinking? -

Well, I have never had any problems with PayPal until earlier this month when I received the following email... which I originally thought was one of those designed to get you to send your information for identity theft.  I've XXXXX'd out my personal information, but it doesn't detract from the email itself.

From: <>
Sent: Saturday, September 09, 2006 6:46 PM
Subject: PayPal Verification Request (XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX) :XXX


Access to your PayPal account has been denied because your name is
similar to or a match to an entry on the Office of Foreign Assets
Control Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list. We are required to
further verify your identity. In order to regain access to your account,
please provide the following documentation:

   1.  A copy of government-issued photograph identification (i.e.
passport, driver's license).

   2.  A copy of a utility bill verifying your address

   3.  A copy of a document verifying your date and place of birth.

Please fax the information to +1 303-395-2802, Attention: Compliance.
The documents may also be mailed to the following address:

      PayPal, Attention: Compliance
      P.O. Box 45950
      Omaha, NE 68145
      United States

Please provide the requested information within the next 30 days. If
this information is not received within the next 30 days, your PayPal
account will be closed.

Please include the email address listed on your PayPal account in all

Reply to this e-mail with all questions at

PayPal Compliance Department
PayPal, an eBay Company

At first I thought that someone had picked up my name from somewhere and are trying to get me to send my personal info to that fax #.  I just filed it with the other humorous notes I get and forgot about it.  A few days later I tried to log into my PayPal account and got this message...

This account has been permanently locked with a $0.00 CAD balance. All information associated with this account has been blocked from the PayPal system and cannot be registered with another account.

What the heck is this????  I remembered the email I got and checked it again.  Hmmm.... looking more legit by the moment.  From the PayPal website I sent a request for information and got the following reply


Thank you for contacting PayPal.

Your account has been found in violation of international sanction
regulations. Any funds in your account have been locked. You can obtain
further information from PayPal about the status of your account at

For further information regarding the international sanction regulations,
please visit their website at or

Please let me know if you need further assistance.

PayPal Resolution Services
PayPal, an eBay Company

International sanction regulations???  Huh???  Following the two supplied links, I looked for my name to see what was up.  The Bank of England site does not have any matches to my last name at all.  The OFAC site has a list of names which a few people that match my last name, but no one that matches my first name (not even close).  Did they take everyone whose last name matches one on the list and lock their accounts?

I sent notes to both ebay and PayPal asking how my name matches any on those lists.  I also suggested they reactivate my account as they are in error with this.  It's only been one business day since I sent the notes, so I'm still hopeful I'll get some sort of reply.  I've been checking around at other sites, including and was dismayed to read all the problems people have encountered.  Only time will tell how this one turns out....

September 9, 2006 6:46 PM - Received initial email from PayPal.
September 12, 2006 11:55 AM
- Figured out I was locked out of my account and sent an email to PayPal.  Received the response seen above the next day.
September 18, 2006 7:45 PM - Sent notes to ebay (sent 2 by accident - see below for result) and PayPal asking for confirmation of account locking.
September 20, 2006 - Received this from ebay...  At least he acknowledged that something was up.

Thank you for writing to eBay's Customer Support. My name is Boris, I
appreciate the opportunity to assist you with your concern regarding
your PayPal account.

I realize the urgency in this situation. However, please understand that
although eBay is affiliated with PayPal we cannot look into your
personal information related to that account. This is to safeguard the
interest and privacy of our members.

XXXXX, I suggest that you contact PayPal Customer Service directly, in
order to resolve this issue. To reach PayPal Customer Service, log into
your account and send a secure email through the following Web page:

You can also contact PayPal Customer Service Representatives by phone,
toll-free, at 1-888-221-1161.

Again, thank you for writing eBay. Should you have any other questions,
concerns or require further clarification, please do not hesitate to
contact us again. I wish you a prompt resolution to this matter.


Boris A.
eBay Customer Support

September 20, 2006 - And here's the second... even the ebay rep thought it wasn't real...

Thank you for contacting us about email solicitations that are falsely
made to appear to have come from PayPal. The email you reported did not
originate from PayPal or eBay.

Emails such as these are commonly referred to as "spoof" messages, and
are sent in an attempt to collect sensitive personal information. They
do this by asking the recipient of the email to reply to the message or
click on a link to a Web page requesting this information. 

We are very concerned about this problem and are working diligently to
address the situation. We are currently investigating the source of
these emails to take further action.

We advise you to be very cautious of email messages that ask you to
submit information such as your credit card number or your email
password. Only enter your eBay password on pages that begin with
If you ever need to provide information to PayPal, it should only be
done once you have logged into your account from the

If you have any doubt about whether an email message is from PayPal,
please forward it immediately to Do not respond to it
or click on any of the links in the email message. Please do not change
the subject line or edit the email in any way.

If you entered personal information such as your password, banking
information or credit card number into a Web site based on a request
from a spoofed email, you need to take immediate action to protect your
identity. More information on the steps you should take can be found on
the "Protecting Your Identity" Help page. To access this page please
click the following link:

To help you better protect yourself from fake eBay and PayPal Web sites,
we have developed a feature for the eBay Toolbar called "Account Guard."
Account Guard includes an indicator of when you are on an eBay or PayPal
Web site or a known spoof (or "phishing") site, buttons to report fake
eBay Web sites, and a password notification feature that warns you when
you may be entering your eBay password on an unverified site.

To learn more about the eBay Toolbar with Account Guard go to and click on "eBay Toolbar" at the bottom of the page

Once again, thank you for alerting us to the spoof email you received.
Your vigilance helps us ensure that PayPal and eBay remain safe and


Lottie Customer Support

... still waiting on reply from PayPal.

.... Feb 14, 2007.... well haven't heard from anyone and my account is still locked out.  Guess my eBay days are over.... if I really had to, I could get my wife to set up a Paypal account (she's got a last name quite different from mine).  But I've been left with a bad taste from the whole experience.... and have no real interest in returning.