If you are one of the estimated 10 million daily users of the online e-commerce service PayPal, internet security experts urge you to immediately check your account.
A security breach, discovered on New Year’s Day and made public on Jan 5th, allowed nearly $48 billion in electronic transactions to be shuffled and redistributed. Most of the transactions were reversals; money paid from individuals to merchants were “bounced back” into their accounts.
“We received about 30 messages from an person known only as ‘RobinHoodPalPayer,” said PayPal spokesperson Althea Thoone. “We originally determined that the messages were a harmless prank. It was only when a few of us in the corporate offices noticed discrepancies within our own, individual PayPal accounts that we realized something much more serious had occurred. Heck, I myself had six identical transactions reversed in one day before it dawned on me that something was wrong. I ended up with an extra $643 in my account!”
So far, investigators say they have no leads. “Whoever ‘RobinHoodPalPayer’ is, his motives seem to be more ‘vigilante’ than criminal, as all of the affected transactions were simple reversals of purchases, and not stolen from any one account,” said Truett. “He, or They, essentially gave people money back they’d already spent by taking it out of corporate and business accounts and putting it back into the accounts of the individual.”
“Unfortunately,” said spokesperson Thoone, “‘RobinHoodPalPayer’ has gathered a kind of ‘urban hero’ status, and we fear the serious nature of the crime is being overlooked. It’s important to remember that billions of dollars have been tampered with. It’s cool to see all this extra money in your account when you login, but you have to remember, you can’t keep it. No matter how badly, or how desperately you want it or need it. That’s not your money, and we need it back.”
PayPal analysts are currently sorting through millions of transactions in an effort to verify and restore users’ account balances. They ask that anyone who has found ‘unexplained money’ in their accounts to contact them immediately at their customer service hotline: 1-(785) 273-0325
“So far, no one has come forward saying they have additional funds in their accounts,” said Truett. “We have noticed, though, an increase in withdrawals to bank accounts. We’re currently looking to see if it is connected to the hacking.”