My wife, Carla Sinclair, is editor of Wink Books. Yesterday, she used Paypal to pay Ben Marks his fee for reviewing a photo book published by Taschen called "Castro’s Cuba: An American Journalist’s Inside Look at Cuba 1959-1969."
Carla included a message to Ben in the Paypal transaction, which read, "Hi Ben - Your Castro's Cuba review is up! Thanks so much! Carla."
As soon as she pressed the send button, she got a pop-up message on the PayPal site that informed her that the payment was being held for review. This had never happened before and she had no idea why PayPal was holding up the transaction.
Last night, an email arrived from PayPal. It turns out, the problem arose because Carla's message included the forbidden word "Cuba" (and/or possibly "Castro").
Here's the email from PayPal:
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As part of our security measures, we regularly screen activity in the PayPal system. During a recent screening, we noticed an issue regarding your account.
PayPal's Compliance Department has reviewed your account and identified activity that may be in violation of United States regulations administered by the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
PayPal is committed to complying with and meeting its global regulatory obligations. One obligation is to ensure that our customers, merchants, and partners are also in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including those set forth by OFAC, in their use of PayPal.
To ensure that activity and transactions comply with current regulations, PayPal is requesting that you provide the following information via email to firstname.lastname@example.org: