MS Woes: $2,000 Stolen Off My PayPal Reload Cards

In doing some spring fall cleaning yesterday, I found a couple of PayPal reload cards that had been sitting in an “active MS” envelope at the bottom of a pile in my office. This was the result of my old accounting system before I was really doing very much manufactured spend (MS), which consisted of an envelope for active MS and for completed MS. When I started ramping up my MS I switched over to a new, more robust accounting system. Unfortunately, it seems that the last four cards that were in my old accounting system never left it.

I figured it was about time to liquidate these reload cards.

Imaging my surprise when, despite the fact that I had just scratched in the scratch off area to reveal the code moments before, PayPal alerted me that the card had already been redeemed. I tried to load the second card onto my account; same thing. Then the third and fourth followed suit. This wasn’t looking good, so I immediately got on the phone with PayPal.

To begin the dispute process, PayPal requires that I email or fax in the following:

  • Front and back of each card
  • State ID
  • Receipt
  • Proof of address
  • Dispute reference number

Unfortunately, since these cards were in my old accounting system, keeping track of receipts wasn’t something that was handled well, so I have to contact the stores the cards were purchased at (two different stores) to get the store’s copy of the receipt, also known as the electronic journal.

When I called the stores, both said that I had to talk to a department that was only staffed from 7 am to 11 am Monday through Friday, so that is the next action item in this saga.

I also contacted my credit card companies to see if there was anything they could do. Three card was purchased with a Chase card and the other with a Diners Club. Diners Club said there was nothing they could do and Chase recommended I call the Disputes Department, which was closed at time of calling.

To be continued…



  1. You have a spelling mistake in your blog: To being the dispute process, PayPal requires that I email or fax in the following….I believe auto correct got you….Think it should be TO BEGIN THE DISPUTE Begin/being… have a great weekend

  2. Ugh, I feel your pain. All it takes is a single mistake or problem to potentially wipe out the benefits from a year of MS. About a month ago I thought I had lost a $500 gift card that I was carrying to Target for Redbird reload. Had a pit in my stomach for a day. Retraced my steps several times, etc. Finally found that it had slipped out of my pocket as I was driving and was underneath the seat. In that 24 hour period it took me to find it, I swore I would never do MS again. Then I found it and decided to change my mind. It is an addiction.

    1. Truth. I’m confident I’ll get it back eventually if I’m willing to go through any means possible (which I am). But I’m pretty confident it will be a pain to make it happen too. I’m glad you found your gift card though! I definitely am going to be making a move back to signup bonuses and away from MS after this!

      1. Two ways this fraud happens with vgc: guessing numbers, and taking off shelf and re-glueing. Registering cards with a zip can help.

  3. Have you checked the balance of the card to see where they were spent? Any idea how the thief got your number and PIN? That is scary.

    1. The reload cards were drained into someone else’s PayPal account. Since the scratch off area was in tact, I assume that the numbers were generated with a computer program somehow.

  4. Thankfully the only Gift Card error I’ve hit so far worked out in my favor, but I’ve heard too many stories like yours. Best thing you can do is drain your cards as early as possible and keep your receipts.

    My girlfriend is still fighting a case where a VGC was already registered to another person and partially used when she took it out of the (sealed) package. That’s been in limbo for months now.

  5. HI pointprincess,
    I am so sorry about the loss. I know you will get it back.. paypal is very aggressive where fraud is concerned. Go get it !

  6. Ugh, yes it is always passed along as advice that the longer you sit on a card the greater likelihood you’ll get scammed. But at the same time, if you want to scale even a little bit and/or cut back on time invested, you ultimately end up with stuff you can’t buy/liquidate in a single day. What I don’t get is how these guys are guessing numbers. Paypal apparently has some weaknesses and loopholes in their system if they are getting brute force hacked.

    1. Well and all four cards came from the same store, so maybe there is something going on there, but the scratch-off area was completely intact before I scratched it off so I can’t quite figure that out either.

  7. Ugh, that *sucks*.

    I hope that works out for you, as yeah, PayPal is pretty heavy-handed when it comes to fraud, but lord knows they sometimes rule in a seemingly-arbitrary way, too. I lost a $25 payment for virtual goods against a guy even though I had all the email logs, etc.

    I hope your new accounting system keeps this from being a problem again, but in case you’re interested, I actually recently launched a service aimed at being the easiest receipt-saving service out there – the idea being that if it’s easy to use, you’ll actually use it and your receipts won’t go missing.

    If you want to check it out, it’s called Receiptron ( ) and there’s a month-long free trial, no credit card required, no app to install. I’d love to hear any feedback you have on it!

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *