Paypal has a new trick that makes me want to punch faces with extreme force. I was logging in today to pay for an Orycon membership (because that’s the only payment they take online), and I got this stop dialogue:


Now, this is a load of donkey dung, because I have a laptop I’ve been using for exactly this stuff for four years. Same laptop. Never even reformatted. But I’m all, ‘okay, fine, whatever.’

They give you two options. One is to receive a phone call at a predetermined number. Another is to verify data. Or let me put that more specifically, like they did: verify public data. That’s an important difference, and they think they’re being oh-so-very-clever, and I almost fell for it.

See, I didn’t want to deal with a telephone, so I chose verify data, thinking this would be some sort of account information validation. WRONG. They’re trolling public records and (presumably) credit report information to tie together a more complete – meaning more saleable – identity profile, and asking me to “verify” data I’ve never given them, ever. That’s when I realised what was up.

In short, you’re not “verifying” anything. You’re drawing them a comprehensive historical map of your life, connecting all the little dots they think they might have for you, on their behalf, all under the guise of some sort of security check.

You get: inconvenience and data mining! They get: A far more saleable and more complete historical profile of you, under false pretences.

Just to see what happens, I tried my other Paypal account, after verifying my computer on this one. OH LOOK, said Paypal, WE DON’T RECOGNISE THIS COMPUTER!

Dung twice.

And the same set of options. So, yeah. If – or more likely, when – you get this dialogue, pick a disposable number and have them call you and enter a pin. Because this? This is horseshit.

Paypal is just awful.

eta: IT GETS WORSE: In comments, check this:

Michael Hanscom: Did you see the recent story about their new TOS’s authorizing robocalls from them or their associates for basically whatever reason they want? It was enough for me to just flat out close my account.

Really. No, I missed that. So either way, you’re screwed. You give them a legit number they can phonespam or you let them datamine you. Awesome. Fuck, I wish I could close my accounts. But I have business need. Goddammit.

eta2: And here we go – the first spam call has already arrived.