06-23-2018  7:08 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

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Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

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MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

State Supreme Court won't hear Sweet Cakes by Melissa appeal

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Supreme Court has declined to consider the case of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, the now-defunct bakery that refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple in 2013 based on the bakers' religious objections.The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Friday the Supreme...

No longer behind a mask, Eugene umpire is being recognized

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — After 31 years behind the plate as an MLB umpire, Dale Scott knows how to recognize a strike.Throwing one is, uh, another matter.When the Los Angeles Dodgers asked Scott to throw a ceremonial first pitch earlier this month, he was honored of course, but also a little...

Online sellers consider how to comply with sales tax ruling

NEW YORK (AP) — While a Supreme Court ruling on sales taxes will create more obligations and expenses for many small online retailers, owners are already thinking about how they'll comply.The decision allows states to require out-of-state businesses to collect sales tax from customers in...

Evacuation orders lifted in wildfire near Vantage

VANTAGE, Wash. (AP) — Evacuation notices have been lifted for residents in about 30 homes as a wildfire burning in central Washington reaches 50 percent containment.The Yakima Herald-Republic reports fire crews were hoping to fully contain the fire near Vantage and the Columbia River by...

OPINION

How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Chaos on the border inflames GOP's split with Latinos

When more than 1,000 Latino officials __ a crop of up-and-coming representatives from a fast-growing demographic __ gathered in Phoenix last week, no one from the Trump administration was there to greet them.It marked the first time a presidential administration skipped the annual conference of the...

Racist tropes in Ramadan TV satires anger black Arabs

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In an attempt to capitalize on what's become a ratings bonanza for Arabic satellite channels during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, two comedies struck the wrong chord with audiences when their lead actors appeared in blackface, a form of makeup that...

AP Source: J. Cole to perform at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — J. Cole is set to perform at Sunday's BET Awards.A person familiar with the awards show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the plans publicly, tells The Associated Press on Friday that the rapper will perform at the...

ENTERTAINMENT

So much TV, so little summer: Amy Adams, Kevin Hart, Dr. Pol

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The fall television season is months away but that's no reason to stare moodily at a blank screen. In this era of peak TV, there are so many outlets and shows clamoring for your summertime attention that it can be as daunting as choosing between a mojito and a frozen...

Honduran girl in symbolic photo not separated from mother

NEW YORK (AP) — A crying Honduran girl depicted in a widely-seen photograph that became a symbol for many of President Donald Trump's immigration policies was not actually separated from her mother, U.S. government officials said on Friday.Time magazine used an image of the girl, by Getty...

AP Source: J. Cole to perform at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — J. Cole is set to perform at Sunday's BET Awards.A person familiar with the awards show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the plans publicly, tells The Associated Press on Friday that the rapper will perform at the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Beyond World Cup: Advocates call attention to Russian abuses

MOSCOW (AP) — Wrapped in national flags, jubilant fans dance at midnight in the streets of Moscow, smiling,...

Ex-S. Korean premier Kim Jong-pil, spy agency founder, dies

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Kim Jong-pil, the founder of South Korea's spy agency whose political skills...

AP FACT CHECK: Trump's skewed claims on immigration, economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is distorting the truth when it comes to the impact of his...

The Latest: Malta tells aid boat with migrants to go away

BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on immigration issues in Europe (all times local):3:45 p.m.Malta's premier is...

Vatican convicts ex-diplomat of child porn distribution

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican tribunal on Saturday convicted a former Holy See diplomat and sentenced him...

Trump pushes back against border separation uproar

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump tried to cast doubt Friday on wrenching tales of migrant children...

Julianne Pepitone

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- PayPal's overzealous fraud filters have frustrated customers for years, with an inscrutable verification process that leaves some battling for months to get access to their money.

The eBay-owned payments processor, like other financial companies, has policies in place to ensure that fraudsters aren't using its system to transfer ill-gotten gains. But PayPal also traps legitimate businesses and charities in its filters, and proving you're no scam involves a ton of paperwork and time.

PayPal says it's finally ready to deal with the problem. It's promising to roll out a massive overhaul of its system within the next several months -- but details are scant for now.

"These are not minor -- these are aggressive changes," said Anuj Nayar, PayPal's senior director of communications. "This is a fundamental shift in our business operations."

Nayar said he can't go into specifics about what will change, but transparency is a major focus. "We want to be clear about how people can get out of the [frozen funds] situation," he said. "We need to get better about helping people, or explaining why actions are being taken."

PayPal customers have complained for years about the Kafkaesque nightmare of trying to pry frozen funds loose.

The company routinely freezes funds for 21 days if it thinks there's a fraud risk, and its terms give it the right to extend the freeze for up to 180 days. To get access to their money, users are often asked asked to provide the kind of documentation that a product seller would have, like several months' worth of sales records. But if you're running a fundraiser or selling tickets to an upcoming conference, you don't have that paperwork.

Even for those with extensive paper trails, the appeals process can take months to resolve. The Web is filled with enraged blog posts, websites like paypalsucks.com, and a Tumblr called "Conferences Burned by PayPal."

Nayar first discussed PayPal's plan for "big changes" in a TechCrunch article posted last week, after science fiction author Jay Lake found his account frozen. Lake, who is battling advanced colon cancer, is raising money for an experimental genome-sequencing process.

Thanks to his own fame and the aid of friends like Neil Gaiman, Lake's fundraising effort went viral. Just five hours after launching his campaign, he had $20,000 in contributions. At about 4 p.m. Pacific time the next day -- January 11, a Friday -- Lake tried to transfer the funds into a bank account. Instead, he received an alert that his PayPal account was frozen.

"They wanted me to provide receipts, shipping information, business paperwork," Lake told CNNMoney. "That obviously didn't apply to me, but there was no way to bypass the process. I called, and they said appeals take 24 to 72 hours to get going. I asked, 'How I do prove I'm not conducting transactions?'"

After Lake fired off a sarcastic tweet at PayPal, his fans and famous friends lobbied for help. His account was restored by 6 p.m., and PayPal tossed in a corporate donation to Lake's fund.

"If it weren't for my small bit of fame, if I were the guy down the street, this could have taken months," Lake said.

That's what happened to Brook Drumm, an entrepreneur who sells 3-D printers. After running a successful Kickstarter campaign, he launched an online store to sell his Printrbot machines. More than $100,000 rolled in.

"PayPal freaked out and froze our funds," Drumm said. "They needed references and bank statements and tax records. This went on for months. And even with all that paperwork, they still ended up holding $50,000. We finally got the money, but it was an untold amount of stress and sleepless nights."

Nayar, the PayPal rep, said the company can't comment on specific cases.

"We've made a commitment to be clearer with consumers on how they can get out of these situations," he said.

For example, the issue that Jay Lake faced -- being asked to mail in receipts and other paperwork that doesn't apply to fundraisers?

"We're fixing a lot of that," Nayar said. "At a minimum, the fact that someone needs to mail in something to an online payments company is a problem. 2013 is going to be the year that we fix a lot of those pain points."

It will take time, he cautioned. PayPal has multiple, complex security systems in place, and all of them need a fresh look.

Ironically, Lake understands better than most what PayPal is up against. As a sideline to his writing, Lake consults with financial institutions about their communications systems -- for example, the automated calls you receive when your credit card may be compromised. He's familiar with the fraud protection process, and he thinks PayPal's has plenty of room for improvement.

"There's a guilty until proven innocent bias to it, and that needs to change," he said.

PayPal can't afford to be complacent much longer. The field that it once monopolized is now full of competition: WePay, Square, Stripe and smartphone-based systems like Google Wallet are only a few of the up-and-coming rivals.

"We are committed to getting back to being the center of our customers' financial lives," PayPal's Nayar pledged. "Big changes are coming."

 ™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

 

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