(I will not be identifying my client or my colleagues in this post.)
This will be a very different blog post from any I’ve written for WordPress. For one thing, it touches directly on a major concern of freelancers all over the world: the security of their payments being deposited into their PayPal accounts because of hackers.
I write for a well-known web content site. Some of my online writing colleagues –– I am not keeping count because that number changes daily –– have recently received notification that their PayPal accounts have been hacked, with “payments” being made to their accounts and “payments” being withdrawn from those same accounts.
One feature in common that my colleagues mention is that their accounts were linked to a “Facebook credits program.” One of my colleagues does not even have a FB account. Several of these accounts show activity related to a Facebook Ireland LTD as well as Facebook Inc.
These are usually smaller transactions, but the hackers are making multiple transactions out of these accounts, which is adding up for each of my colleagues.
These colleagues receive a text notice on their mobile phones of these fraudulent transactions. They are accused of stealing funds from other PayPal account holders. They call PayPal and report all of this activity on their accounts and PayPal immediately, to its credit, resolves the complaints against them.
One colleague related that, in communicating with his/her bank, that the banking manager told of a noticeable increase in the number of fraudulent transactions that were related to PayPal. This person will be at the bank, taking care of housekeeping details related to the PayPal hacking.
Another colleague went to YouTube and found several videos instructing how to hack PayPal. I count four videos, just scrolling down the YouTube page. I will not be clicking on those videos. When I clicked on the YouTube link and saw these videos, I sent a help email, detailing to Google that these videos are up for unscrupulous hackers to use in separating hard-working freelancers from their pay. I sent this email before 10 a.m. local time; it is now after 1 p.m. local time and the videos are still up, available for anyone to use in learning how to steal money that does not belong to them.
I am not tech-able. For this reason, I am not able to wrap my mind around the Facebook and Facebook Ireland connections to the hacking of my colleagues’ PayPal accounts. What is this “Facebook credits program?” Looking at the PayPal community page, the victims here either do not have FB accounts or they have not linked their PP accounts to Facebook, let alone a “Facebook credits program.” The first post related to PayPal/Facebook credits program is dated February of this year. It’s now June and my freelancing colleagues and I are only now learning of this scam.
Any freelance writers who have to rely on PayPal for payment, don’t use PayPal as a bank –– it is just too easy for hackers to get into their database and get to your information. Take the money out and deposit it into an account not linked to PayPal. Look at your security practices and increase them — add as many layers of security as you can and make it harder for these hackers to gain access to your hard-earned money.