He Said, She Said: A Big Oops

Last week the following text exchange happened between Mama PoP (Mr PoP’s mom) and me while I was at work.

Mama PoP: Did [Mr PoP] tell you about PayPal?
Mrs PoP: ?
Mama PoP: Our bank says he is using PayPal against our account.
Mrs PoP: That’s weird. I can try and look into it tonight.

The_ScreamLong story short, I checked Mr PoP’s PayPal account at lunch and sure enough it was connected to a checking account that didn’t belong to either of us. (So I presumed was his parents’.) I deleted that account and told Mama PoP I’d get an inventory together of the damage we had done to their checking account since it would take time to go through all the transactions one by one.

It took a few days to get all the info together, but the damage is just shy of $300, and this checking account was connected to that PayPal for over 5 years. Considering there was easily over $2K in spending on the PayPal account (luckily most of that spending came out of our pockets) in that same time period, it could have been much worse.

Plus, it seems as though the checking account information was entered for a legitimate reason way back in 2009, it was just never deleted and became the default payment method when the credit card on file with that account expired. So there’s that. No malicious intent.

Without question, we’re paying the money back, but we’ve definitely had differing reactions to the whole episode.  To get the full story, this edition of He Said She Said is a double header, with Mr & Mrs PoP giving their takes, and then Mama PoP and Papa PoP doing the same from the other side of the table.

He Said:

When Momma PoP told me that something like this might have happened, I forgot about it for a few days because it just didn’t seem like that big a deal. Over the years I’ve realized that while I’m honest, I’m also semi-incompetent with details; this can lead to errors. (Mrs PoP – I swear he’s not an airhead 99% of the time, but that pesky other 1%…)  Happily, this one occurred inside the family, and appeared to be easily corrected. So it goes.

I’m probably more relaxed about the whole thing because of all the other embarrassing things I’ve done in front of my mother in the past 31 years. Accidentally skimming $300 off of her over the past 5 years doesn’t even make it into the top 10…

She Said:

I cannot begin to tell you how embarrassed I was by this – especially when I had the displeasure of noticing that one of the charges that went straight to Mama and Papa PoP’s checking account was for a Christmas present we purchased off of ebay for Mama PoP several years ago. Seriously, how low can you get? Having someone foot the bill for their own Christmas present (Mr. PoP edit: Isn’t this essentially what we do for each other every year)?

On top of the embarrassment, at first glance it looked like it might be A LOT of money. There were about 60 transactions that easily totaled $2K+ in Mr PoP’s PayPal history and the few I clicked on at first glance were all linked to the rogue checking account. “Oh jeez. We’re already about 2 months over budget on shopping due to the losses of my iPad and iPhone, and now this? Ugh!”

The fact that it was more of an error of omission (we never saw the transactions to track come through on Mint and Mr PoP forgot about them as soon as he completed his purchase) more so than an error of commission doesn’t make me feel a whole lot better about it. I still feel like we’ve been stealing from Mr PoP’s parents for years now and it’ll take me a while to stop feeling bad about that. Blame the Catholic upbringing if you want, but this shame is here to stay for a while. =/

Mama PoP Said:

For my part, I am sorry that I brought it up this little mess because I would never want Mrs. PoP to worry about something that was essentially my fault. How so? I was the negligent party here since in the final analysis, I should have known what those withdrawals by PayPal were about. Naturally, I just blamed Papa PoP when I would see an odd amount coming out for a PayPal purchase! And, I didn’t follow through beyond very briefly wondering what he had purchased. If asked, Papa PoP would say that he had no idea what he bought on eBay and that would be that.

When the mess happened with Target sharing lots of credit card account information for so many people, one of Papa PoP’s airline charge accounts got hit. It was easy to fix and we cancelled the account. So, when our extra checking account recently showed a $5.00 charge to PayPal, I followed up because I had time right then and really, Papa PoP has never been able to buy anything on eBay for $5.00! My thinking was that if someone could somehow use PayPal to remove $5.00 from our checking account, maybe they could remove $5,000 or more?

I was very relieved to find out that the person involved in sharing our checking account was our son and not some unknown bad person who had somehow compromised our account! PayPal has been on my long-standing to-do list of financial matters to simplify, so this will push me to eliminate both the extra checking account that we don’t need and my extra PayPal account that I don’t want. Even better, the PoPs have paid us back using an Amazon gift card that I gleefully spent on an awesome beach chair, a CD that has been on my wish list for two years, a special reading table that I absolutely need for retirement, and Paperwhite Kindle that is wonderful. A total bonanza of guilt-free shopping for me!

Papa PoP Said:

So, we were almost “cheated” out of $300.00 (+/-) over a three/five year period because of an error that none of us realized was happening? After spending a full 13 seconds in deep thought over this whole situation (and that includes controlling my laughter) I’m with Mr. PoP. My mother (Mr. PoP’s grandmother) used to ask me; “Will it matter in 20 years?” Then she would continue, “If not, it is really not worth worrying about!” My only wish was that it was $300K. If that were the case I might go shopping for a few things I have my eye on!


* As an update to another old story, we found out during this misadventure that the ebay fraud we were a victim of actually cost us/Mr PoP’s parents another $33 in PayPal fees that we didn’t see at the time, bringing the total out of pocket expense of that fraud experience to over $100. Definitely not selling on ebay again anytime EVER.


What would your reaction have been?  Has this ever happened to anyone else?  

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