Thursday, December 4, 2014

My Etsy Store is "On Vacation" Until After the New Year

Regretfully the popularity of my tutorials has caused me some problems with Etsy and Paypal.  I will definitely be back in early January, though sadly I may need a new venue other than Etsy.  I'm looking into a few store options and a site called Craftsy.  If anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear your opinion on the best way to go.

If you are curious why, it was like this:

Etsy and Paypal needs my SSN for tax purposes.  That was all well and expected.  My tutorials were pretty popular this year, and I was getting very close to the 200 transaction threshold set be the IRS to file income (Though no where near the $20,000 income limit).  I go to the section on Etsy to give my information, but I had forgotten that we used my mom's name when we set up our accounts thinking she would use it to sell her dolls and other handmade items.  However, the bulk of the transactions were from my tutorials and items that I made. So I called them to have the account switched to me.  Etsy was able to make the info change fairly easily, but tell me that the ONLY way I can submit my SSN to them is via the internet for "security" purposes.  So, they're basically saying that they won't be held accountable if someone steals my identity.  Now, I think most of us have become keenly aware of how secure the internet is these days.  Yes, their website may use the latest encryption techniques, but that isn't the problem that concerns me.  If hackers can hit big name stores like Target with malware, what makes any of us think our own connections or computers are secure?  Am I paranoid?  Maybe I am, but I don't like the way Etsy has set up their "secure" submission process.  When I went to the online form to submit my info, the first thing I see is my full name, address and all other information displayed right there on the screen, in text form no less, on the same page as the submission input box for my SSN.  This isn't looking good.  Say a trojan has found it's way onto my computer allowing some software to record my keystrokes or possibly read/copy the page content I visit.  They've just given them everything they need to wreak havoc on my life.  This is SO unnecessary!  Etsy already has the last four digits of my SSN, which were required on setup.  Why do they need the whole number?  And, why must they display my name and info before I submit the number that is formatted so obviously as a SSN?  If they hadn't, I could possibly have gone to a public computer, logged in, and entered it without risk.

Paypal was a lot more with it.  They will let you give your SSN via the phone, which I find WAY more secure than the internet.  Even if the employee tried to use my info, the company has their info and records of who I talked to.  So, it's a lot less likely, and I have a much better chance of tracking the culprit down.  However, we had also made the mistake of using my mom's name on our Paypal acct.  Though all info, including last name were the same for us both.  And, it only came down to the first name.  They couldn't make the change without requiring all kinds of info be sent to verify the simple change.  On top of this, IRS had made it so no one could change anything until a SSN was given for the name on the acct.  However, the Paypal representatives had three options to resolve our problem.  First was to close the account and open a new one.  They assured me that they would not need to verify my bank acct again and that I could transfer my email, but I had to give my mom's SSN to close the first acct.  NO WAY!!  She was not going to do that!  The whole point of this was to get her off the account.  Second option was to abandon this acct and just open an new one using a different email and bank acct.  Umm...NO!  This is the primary email I use, and I don't need another bank account.  Besides, at some point we surely would like to close this Paypal acct if it's not being used!  And this seems a little too much like tax fraud to me.  The third option is my only hope.  They want to change the acct type to "business" and that would allow for the name change.  I'm very leery of this.  I need to research the repercussions of going through with this.  But, the manager assured me that I could switch it back to a personal acct at any time once the name was changed.  How silly is that?!  But, whatever works to get us back up and running safely.

So, that's that.  I never expected my tutorial to be so popular.  I feel so unprepared for all of this.  Please bare with me while I get this all sorted out.  In the meantime, I'm also continuing to work on new tutorials and many new projects.