What if one fine day, you get a mail that your online funds have freeze. The problem magnifies if you have a good amount of cash in your online account. To be specific, same thing happened to my PayPal account on 24th August, 2009. My account holding huge amount of funds was locked by PayPal as they suspected a third party access to my account.
Horrifying online stories have always a part of my life, but it's good that each of them ended in my favor. Earlier on December, 2008, I posted about How my Google Account was Locked and How I Recovered it. I would elaborate on the PayPal story, read it, it's adventurous :P.
Forums and blogs suggested that limited access is something which is difficult to resolve and its best to forget about the PayPal account after it has been limited. But finally I managed to do the impossible :) And this all happened just before my exams :)
On 24th August, I initiated a transfer from my PayPal account to my Bank Account. I used Tunneling ( used a software to bypass my college firewall using a proxy server, as paypalobjects.com is banned in my college ( for no reason, I see ) which hinders opening of paypal.com ) to access my account and transfer funds to my bank account. I was now waiting for funds to pop in my bank account which usually takes 1-2 business days.
After 2 hours and 40 min, I got mail from PayPal that my account has now limited access because they suspect that it was accessed by a third party unauthorized person. The reason was because I used a proxy server of Hong Kong. The mail I got from PayPal was as follows :
Dear Shubham Gupta,
As part of our security measures, we regularly screen activity in the PayPal system. During a recent screening, we noticed an issue regarding your account.
We have reason to believe that your account was accessed by a third party. We have limited access to sensitive PayPal account features in case your account has been accessed by an unauthorized third party. We understand that having limited access can be an inconvenience, but protecting your account is our primary concern.
Case ID Number: XX-XXX-XXX-XXX
For your protection, we have limited access to your account until additional security measures can be completed. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
To review your account and some or all of the information that PayPal used to make its decision to limit your account access, please visit the Resolution Center. If, after reviewing your account information, you seek further clarification regarding your account access, please contact PayPal by visiting the Help Center and clicking "Contact Us".
We thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. Please understand that this is a security measure intended to help protect you and your account. We apologize for any inconvenience.
PayPal Account Review Department
I was simply out. I have heard that it is practically impossible to lift limitations from your PayPal account. Limited access means you couldn't withdraw money, transfer money, close account or use your PayPal account for buying things.
I moved to the Resolution Center where they asked me to change my password and security question. The main thing was to submit an address proof which is not older then 6 months. I uploaded scanned copies of my driving license. I also verified Credit Card with PayPal account. I called PayPal on ISDN numbers in the middle of night and got my mobile balance exhausted with no success.
The problem was that PayPal was displaying that action is needed on my end to satisfy proof of residence even when I have completed that step. I used contact PayPal option but only got same bot replies. Till I don't complete all the steps as per PayPal, my case will not be reviewed.
Finally, I mailed many PayPal officials whose list I obtained from http://www.screw-paypal.com/paypal_contact_information.html . Finally, got a personal reply which said they have reviewed my driving license scan but the scans are not clear and asked me to upload some other documents. I uploaded scanned copies of my Passport, PAN card, Utility Bill and CC Statements.
After 12+ hours ( most blogs I've read said it took them weeks before it even got noticed) of long long long wait, finally they released the limitations on my account. The mail said :
Hello Shubham Gupta,
Our review is complete and we have restored your account.
We appreciate your patience and thank you for your help in making PayPal
the safest and most trusted online payment solution.
I was relieved to see this mail as it is very difficult to lift these limitations. Thank God :)
Points to Remember to Remove Limitations from your PayPal account
1. Follow all the things PayPal asked you to submit or do
2. Don't panic, everything will be resolved in time
3. Be smart, prove everything you said by documents, files etc. of course if you faked your name or something then that's another story.
4. Forget about emailing them on the "contact us" section coz they just reply with premade replies it's just frustrating.
5. Don't try calling them either since I think they check the responses you gave them thru the PayPal website quite often.
6. Don't give your PayPal details to anyone else unless it's from the PayPal website itself.
Reasons for which PayPal can Limit your Account :
PayPal often blocks account due to following reasons :
1. If you have too much money transfer (anything above $500 raises the flag) in very short period and you are unverified PayPal account member
2. You have changed your Country and PayPal blocks accounts which are accessed from 2 countries for security reasons.
3. If they have got a complaint from your buyer/seller than the account may get blocked until the case gets resolved.
4. If PayPal finds that Multiple accounts are being opened/used from Same IP than too they will block it until you resolve the case.
These are just some of the basic cases for which PayPal blocks account, the list can have many more reasons though. Anyway if PayPal account has got blocked for any reason, here is what you have to do -
How to Restore PayPal Accounts ?
To Restore PayPal account, follow these steps:
1. Call PayPal and Don't waste time in mailing them. Their phone number is +1-402-935-2050. The total call may take more than 20-30 minutes but should solve the issue unlike mails which takes days to reply and most of them are just automated.
2. If you had an unverified PayPal Account, PayPal will first ask you to verify it. This is done to make sure you are even worthy enough for manual review since most of the frauds can't provide the real address and identity proof.
PayPal asks for 2 things to verify your PayPal account which you need to fax them,
a) Your Address Proof - For Address Proof you can attach your Phone Bill, Electricity Bill or Bank Statement which has your name on it.
b) Your Identity Proof -For Identity Proof you can attach either your scanned Passport or Voter ID card any such document.
Do note that many times PayPal reject certain documents if they feel like they are not trustworthy enough. Sometimes it’s better to send them more than 1 document to show your credibility.
After sending the documents, PayPal also ask you to enter your Credit Card information (so you better have a credit card) as the issue won't be resolved until you provide your credit card info to PayPal.
3. After getting your account verified, again call them and tell them your part of the story. If you are honest (dishonest people normally don't go through all this process), your account will again be restored in 2-3 days.