Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I sat down the other day when I was newly peeved with PayPal and wrote a draft of today’s blog post. I described in some detail what had happened and why I was perturbed. It involved their requiring that I reveal certain personal information. I realized, after I wrote it, that just by explaining I would be violating my own right of privacy by disclosing what had actually occurred.

As a result, I’m posting this instead.

I’ve been using PayPal for a while, with not a single issue or problem ever arising. That was why I assumed there had been a mistake when they made this demand. It sounded like something to protect them from my failure to meet obligations when I used their services--and that never happened!!!

By the way, PayPal did send me an e-mail requesting that I do an online survey to tell them how satisfied I was with the phone call I’d made to try to resolve the problem. Of course the problem wasn’t resolved. What I was satisfied with was the extremely low ratings I gave on that survey! Yeah, I know the problem wasn’t the fault of the low-level employees and barely more savvy supervisors who had the obligation to spill the party line to me, but it still felt good.

There are a lot of ways of getting personal information stolen or hacked these days. It’s so much better to stay quiet and not add to what is probably stuff you don’t want to world to know. And these days, it’s literally the world! As a result, I try to keep my disclosures to a minimum.

Of course writers need to get our news out there. Better yet, our book titles, so people will consider reading our stories. We all sometimes need to pay remotely for products and services, and that may require sending out information like credit card numbers. But how do you know who to trust? There has to be a magic solution out there somewhere about what information to give to whom.

If you happen to know where and what it is, please reveal it to me--without disclosing anything you don’t want the world to know about!

Have you ever been asked inappropriately for personal information? Have you ever been hacked?


Julie said...

I no longer routinely give my Social Security number, instead writing xxx-xx-1234. (NOT the actual last 4 digits of my number, btw.) If they ask for more, I ask why, and if satisfied, I'll give it. The last time was buying a shotgun for target shooting. After I talked with the salesman, I supplied the whole thing, because we all need gun sales to be well-regulated.

What information you give is a judgment call based on the situation, and unfortunately there is no magic solution. Darn it.

Linda O. Johnston said...

I agree, Julie, that it's always a judgment call--but I was still hoping for that magic solution!

JanG said...

I try to use prepaid gift cards, but paypal won't accept them. Their loss, as I will never (as of now, anyway!) use a credit card online. My feeling is that those companies prey on the naive, allowing the companies to mine our lives for their use, and people just shrug and say, "That's life." Yes, I've been hacked and had to buy a new computer system.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Yikes, JanG--that's awful! I do use credit cards now and then but sparingly. It's just too easy for hackers and thieves to get into our info.

Janie Emaus said... emails was hacked. But even worse someone used my debit card and started buying all sorts of weird things and didn't even have them sent to me!

Linda O. Johnston said...

That's awful, Janie. I hope your bank stepped in to help you get the debit card theft straightened out.