All in the name of security, of course. We used to be big PayPal fans. Not anymore.

Be careful using PayPal (PP) from Costa Rica. After our recent experiences, I’d be careful using PP anywhere. We have had business/personal PP accounts since 2000. We’d bought and sold coins on ebay, some other stuff. Never big money, but the account was very useful.

When we got to Costa Rica, it was a great way to get cash from the states using our debit card, fee only $1.

When my mom moved here, she had a Netbank account. Then Netbank went under and, 2 Nov 07, we opened a PP account for mom, transferring her $3,000 from Netbank to PP.

All these accounts – mom’s and ours – were verified with bank accounts and credit cards. Our business account has all the bells and whistles, good long time buyer/seller stars and comments… the whole nine yards.

Last fall/winter sometime (and this is a guess because PP won’t tell you anything), we are presuming PP started monitoring IP addresses when accessing accounts.

Three times in the last four months, PP has frozen my mom’s account, for over two weeks each time, this last time for almost a month. When they freeze your account, you cannot get your money out.

You’ll also never know why they did it. They just take your money and hang onto it. You can’t even transfer your own money into your own bank account that has been verified by them!

To unfreeze your account, they request you re-verify yourself by sending in copies of your passport, changing your password, your security question, copies of your D.L., they make a charge on your cc with a code, you have to enter that code when you get the statement. They deposit pennies in your bank account with a code and you have to enter that code when it shows up on your statement. They want you to call from your phone, but if that phone doesn’t have a U.S. address with your name attached – dong: invalid. They mail something to your credit card address with a secret code… I can’t remember now all the things we had to do.

We jumped through all hoops, calling on the ones that were impossible to complete. For instance, Vonage doesn’t provide a U.S. address listed in the yellow pages… This is all news to PP, they don’t know how to process this information. "Someone can have a U.S. phone number without having a U.S. address in the yellow pages?"

I explained that we were living in Costa Rica, blah blah blah. They would NEVER tell me why they froze our accounts. Unfreezing them took more than just jumping through the hoops in their resolution center; I had to spend a couple of hours on the phone each time, not all at once.

Since my mom’s account was first frozen last December – just before Christmas, BTW, so she could not shop for grandchildren – all our other accounts have been frozen at least once. We’ve unfrozen them by jumping through numerous hoops, but when a company can freeze your assets over and over again, without telling you why, even after you call and tell them where you are…

We access our bank accounts online all the time and have never had a bank account frozen.

After this last time mom’s account was unfrozen, just last week, after a month of being frozen, we transferred every penny from PP to her bank account quicker than you can say "security issue." Or "Security issue that we are not going to reveal to you. Ever." Freezing my mom’s money like that, over and over again, has been very stressful for her, and for us.

We are looking for another option for our accounts. We’ll keep using bank accounts and those debit cards, but if anyone knows of another service like PP, please share it. Preferably one not centered in the U.S. where nothing is too great an inconvenience, nothing too much to ask, nothing too much to relinquish in the name of security. National or not.

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