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I apparently set up a Paypal Credit account years ago (when it was called BillMeLater) and forgot about it. Last year I started receiving emails "Statement balance" and "Payment received!" Checking into this, it looks like a third-party was somehow charging my account and then immediately paying it off. This happened a few times before I could call PayPal. I explained everything that was happening to their fraud department, and how I believed this to be some kind of scam. They told me they would make a note and mark the previous transactions as fraudulent. Not long after that the emails continued, so I called back and told them to just close the account. They closed the account, and again had me speak to fraud to verify everything and explain what was going on. For my records I wrote down everyone spoken to and what was said, however it's clear that their fraud team simply handled this as a fraud/dispute claim and ignored my comments about it being a scam.

In the following months I received two-pairs of typical credit dispute letters from PayPal: "Here's a temporary credit while we investigate your fraud claims." followed by "We've resolved a dispute in your favor." I assumed that was because I called to complain twice.

Now, PayPal have sent me in a check in the mail for $2,000. This is not my money. It seems like one of the people I spoke to just credited the money back to me, and their automated system closed and zero'ed the account. I voided and destroyed the check.

My main questions are what kinds of scam/fraud could have been involved here, and should I do anything else?

I was less surprised by the fact that they made the mistake and more shocked that they just sent a check in the mail to the address they had on file, which could have changed in the years since the account was opened. I'm worried that their system will just send another check after 180 days, which could easily be intercepted by someone in the mail and cashed. Then someone does an audit and it would be on me to prove I didn't cash it. Perhaps I'm overthinking it.


Of course I also really don't like the idea that there would be any more time/cost burden on me. To further complicate things, my main PayPal account (which is used for online authentication with PayPal Credit) was locked years ago due to a payment dispute that I have no interest in attempting to resolve. This makes it harder to communicate with PayPal. I couldn't find any public email address or support form on their website. The only options I have to communicate with them are sitting on the phone for who knows how long to find a customer service representative that would actually know what to do with this information without making things worse, or writing a certified letter to their central office.

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The same party was charging your account and then paying it off? It would make more sense if it were 2 different parties, essentially using your account to transfer money indirectly.

Voiding and destroying the check probably didn't accomplish anything. Paypal voided the charge for $2k, but didn't reverse the deposit that the third party used to pay it off. The deposit was then sitting in an account in your name, which Paypal closed, and sent you a check for the funds in the closed account. From their point of view, it's your money and will end up in your state's treasury dept as unclaimed property after some period of time in your name. Some states have a website (Texas' website is https://claimittexas.org/) that you can use to verify when it happens, or Paypal may be able to re-issue the check to you. What they won't do without you telling them to is to refund the depositor. If it were me, I would engage the police or the FBI before taking any more action. Unless the depositor has gotten their money back, you're at some risk of them coming looking for it.

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  • "The same party was charging your account and then paying it off?" Unfortunately I wasn't able to get that level of detailed info. It looked like I made the purchases and payments. – Z. Cochrane Apr 14 at 1:50

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