PayPal freezes account of 'near match' terror suspect

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The Register reports that PayPal have been getting rather zealous in scanning the US Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals List, and have come up with a ‘near match’ on UK Government worker Mohammed Hassan with Tunisian Mohamed Hassan. See the similarity? Kinda like John Smith and, err, Jon Smith.

He received an email telling him that access to his account had been frozen and that he was required to provide copious amounts of documentation to prove his identity. On principle, he’s refused, so in around a month’s time his Paypal account will be closed – unless PP realise they’ve made a mistake (which after some of my dealings with them – and no my name’s not on that list – is rather unlikely).

I’m not an expert on Arabic names (perhaps someone with more knowledge can help me out here) but my hunch is that "Mohammed Hassan" (and variants of its spelling) is a reasonably commonplace name – and we’re talking globally here.

"is it because my name is Arabic? Or is it because PayPal are just plain stupid?", said Mr Hassan to the The Register. Well…

Andy Merrett