Wednesday, February 06, 2008

You got $10 on paypal! What's it good for? Not bloody much!

So some days ago, I took a survey for somebody, JetBlue I think.

The other day I got email from paypal... "You have $10.00!"

"Great," I thought. "I've been wanting to order a book... Your God Is Too Safe -- I wonder if I can get it on Amazon for less than $10?"

Yes I can! But they don't take paypal.

Ebay does, though -- so I found one on offer. 99 cents, $5 shipping (yeah right). So I win the auction, I've got $10 in my paypal account, so I say, "Pay for the item."

No joy! I have to send those guys a BANK ACCOUNT number in order to send even one penny anywhere!

However, I have received dire warnings never to give a bank account number to PayPal -- not an account with any money in it, anyway.

So I'm not doing that. Poking around the paypal site, I see I can request a check. But wait, they want my credit card information -- number, expiration date, and security code??!?

Why do I feel like I've got to take a shower after visiting this website?

Update... a few days later

Figured it out. Got a "virtual account number" from citibank -- this is an account that will expire at the end of, hmm, next month. So I still have a window of vulnerability, but it's not as long as my sort of "real" CC#. After giving them that information, Paypal let me pay for my eBay purchase using the funds in there.

I had them send me a check for the rest (less $1.50 handling fee -- bah!). After telling them that, though, I had the idea I should have sent the whole amount elsewhere -- to some cause (like Neoffice, FSF, world vision, or that guy who posted instructions on making boot floppies).

Oh well. Anyway I now have a book on its way to me, so that's what the $10 was good for. Now I just have to watch the credit card account to make sure no untoward activity comes by way of the virtual account. (Hey, I wonder if I can deactivate it now...)

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