PayPal Accounts Drained Due to iTunes Fraud

Several people who have their Paypal accounts tied to their iTunes accounts woke up to some surprising emails this morning. A hacker managed to gain access to their accounts and drained thousands of dollars from several unsuspecting people. One customer reported that “My account was charged over $4700. I called security at PayPal and was told a large number of iTunes store accounts were compromised.”

Joey Bruce is one of the people who were hit the hardest by this hack. “Someone hacked my iTunes/paypal acct and drained everything from my bank account. Life is kicking me in the balls while I’m down.”

All reports point to this being a fault on the side of Apple and iTunes instead of PayPal itself. Apple has had several security setbacks in recent months, including the exposure of iPad customer data in June. I think that perhaps someone in Cupertino needs to take a hard look at adding more security layers to their products and services. The company has long trumpeted their security successes as being nearly untouchable by other platforms and companies. That foundation has been seriously shaken in 2010.

Were your accounts compromised today? We’d love to hear from you about the incident. Is PayPal cooperating with you and helping you to rectify the situation? Has anyone heard directly from Apple in this matter?

UpdateDigital Daily reports that there isn’t really a security hole in iTunes – according to Apple. It’s more likely that several people were hit with a bot/phishing attack yesterday.

In any case, make sure your security software is fully updated and that you are careful with your account information.

Layers of Computer Protection

Computer security people advocate layers of protection. There is no single software program that gives absolute protection. The Internet criminals and hackers simply respond too quickly, and are too sophisticated to be stopped by any one method.

One of the layers of protection that people seem to neglect is encryption. There seems to be a common misconception that encryption is something that is complicated and geeky. It really is not. It can be easy, and it offers an additional layer of security.

The crime of Identity Theft is growing. Two essential pieces of information necessary is to match your name to your social security number. It can lead to a host of problems financially. And if the Identity Theft is used for medical services, it can lead to deadly consequences. This is just a reality of the Internet – and a danger – as more and more medical services move to electronic record keeping for health providers. The key is simply preparation.

For your safety and security, SafeBit offers easy encryption:

SafeBit Disk Encryption is the perfect electronic vault you need for your privacy. It features military strength on-the-fly encryption, by creating virtual disk drives, where you can hide files and folders, keep them encrypted all them time, but still work with these files just like you work with normal files. SafeBit is the last line of defense if your current security system fails against viruses, trojans or hacker attacks.

This is a very special offer for our readers. The SafeBit people are offering our readers a generous forty percent (40%) discount off their regular price. This is a remarkable saving on an award winning software program.

This offer expires on January 6, 2010.

Here is just one last reminder for the people on laptops. If you are using different wi-fi connections regularly or plugging in to unfamiliar Internet connections, there is the risk of keyloggers. For example, the keylogger would record your name and password when you enter a site like PayPal. That would be comparable to handing over the log-in data to your online account. SafeBit has a virtual keyboard. It will give protection against such keylogger programs, and password-stealing malware. This is terrific for travelers, or for those people who are on the go with their laptops and netbooks. The virtual keyboard feature alone is worth the generous price of this program.

Thanks to the SafeBit people for offering this program to our readers at this price point.

How to Buy and Sell on eBay

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Like many of you, I’ve purchased and sold things through eBay auctions. However, the experience wasn’t nearly as clean as it could have been. Have you tried making a killer eBay page to sell something? It’s impossible on your own – so maybe this software can help. GarageSale gives you easy templates that will help you set up a professional looking eBay page in minutes.

GarageSale is a slick, full-featured client application for the eBay online auction system. With GarageSale Mac OS X users can edit, track and manage all their auctions with one single application – easily and fast. Use GarageSale’s intuitive and reliable interface to create eBay auctions conveniently. Stop waiting for eBay to lead you through endless web pages step-by-step.

They have integrated iPhoto, so that you can drag-and-drop your images into your auctions. There are over 150 design templates, which can be changed while you’re designing with the click of a button. I have a feeling many Windows eBay sellers may switch to a Mac after seeing this. If you want to sell your items on eBay, you want your auction to stand out and look good!

The same people who brought you GarageSale, also bring you GarageBuy. GarageBuy is a slick, full-featured client application for all of your search and purchasing on eBay. GarageBuy can save your eBay searches, tracks your watched auctions and lets you bid on auctions without hassle.

GaragePay lets you download, view, search and archive all your PayPal transactions without having to log into the PayPal website. It handles incoming as well as outgoing money transfers.

If you’re an eBay buyer or seller (or both!), be sure to check out the offerings from the folks over at iwascoding.

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Do You Have a Problem with PayPal?

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On my birthday, $450 worth of iTunes gift certificates were transferred from my account to someone else’s, on account of my account being compromised. I logged into my PayPal and sent in a report. My request for my money to be returned was denied by PayPal. Mesiox sent in some tips for all of us, to hopefully help us keep our PayPal accounts safe.

  1. The first thing, it all starts with a clean computer system. A computer system with viruses or keyloggers may be the cause unauthorized people to be inside of your PayPal account. Use security programs on your computer.
  2. Make sure the site you are in is the verified PayPal site, and not a Phishing site. You can check this out by checking the domain name in the browsers url bar. You should see PayPal’s actual site address, and not something else.
  3. Don’t keep large amounts of money in your PayPal account, because people can easily send your money to other accounts in a blink of an eye if they gain access to it. Instead of keeping it on PayPal, keep it inside your bank account.
  4. Check your Paypal history on a daily basis. This way, you can stop money from being transfered if you see it happening when and where it shouldn’t be.
  5. This may be common sense, but use a strong password! Use a mixture of lowercase, uppercase, symbols, and numbers. Make it harder for a hacker to guess to begin with! Reading this post by Chris may help.
  6. When you’re buying something with PayPal, be sure to check that the site you are on is secure. Do this by checking the url bar. The site should contain “HTTPS”. This will help you determine if the site is fraudulent or not. You can also do research on Google about certain sellers that you may not be sure of.
  7. Shop with well-known companies who have established a good reputation.

My biggest piece of advice to you if something does happen, is to be vocal about it. Tell your story. The more times and places you tell it… the more people will hear and pass it along.


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PayPal Denies $450 of Unauthorized Charges

On my birthday last Saturday, I received a “present” I wish I never had. Due to some lax security policies that Apple has thankfully since updated, someone was able to use my birth date to obtain my iTunes password, and get into my account. They then managed to use that information to give themselves a nice little gift of $450 worth of iTunes gift cards… courtesy of my PayPal account.

Apple has worked with me to straighten this out on their end. As far as I know, they have since made some changes to their password retrieval process, which is an excellent thing. Of course, that doesn’t get me my money back.

So, I turned to PayPal, and opened a case in their Resolution Center. I followed all of the necessary steps, and provided them with complete information. The wait then began for me, checking my PayPal balance daily to see if my $450.00 was back in my account yet.

Tonight, I received an email from PayPal’s lovely Resolution Center.

We have completed our investigation of your claim and have determined that this is not an instance of unauthorized account activity. At this time, your claim has been denied. Through careful research, it has been determined that the correct course of action would be to cancel the Preapproved Payment Agreement from your Profile. The merchant will be notified of this change and will no longer be able to make charges to your account.

Wait, what??? “This is not an instance of unauthorized account activity”. What the HELL are they thinking? My password was obtained illegally. My money was taken without my consent… again illegally. How exactly can they determine that this was not an instance of unauthorized anything?! This is complete insanity. Apparently, PayPal is so focused on making money for themselves that they cannot be bothered to care when ordinary people like you and I lose ours via illegal means.

Thanks for nothing, PayPal.