We all have a PayPal account and have probably all heard horror stories about PayPal accounts being compromised, money lost, identity stolen, etc. It is a concern with any online banking process, but staying safe online is not that difficult if you take a few moments to ensure that safety by following some simple, logical steps. There are three main areas to concentrate on while making your PayPal account safe: Passwords, Phishing, and Account Use.
- 1 Keeping your Password safe
The first thing you want to do is NEVER share your password with anyone. This makes sense, but it is surprising how many times someone will share a password. Keep in mind that PayPal employees will NEVER ask you for your password. If someone contacts you and says he/she works for PayPal and asks for your password, do not give it and contact PayPal immediately. Also, if you think someone has gotten a hold of your password, change it immediately and contact Paypal.
- 2 Creating a Secure Password
Again, this is common sense, but it is surprising how many people do not follow this. It is never a good idea to use a password that someone can easily guess: nicknames, birth dates, initials, etc. Always use a combination of letters, symbols and numbers when creating a password. Use random combinations as they are much harder to guess. Keep track of your passwords in a safe manner as well.
- 3 Do not 're-use' your password
Once you have created a password for PayPal (or any other site) do not use the same password for another site. While it might make it easy for you to remember if you only have one password for all your Internet sites, it is just as easy for someone else to get into all your sites if he or she happens to find out your password. PayPal has a feature called PayPal Security Key that adds an extra layer of security and uniqueness to your PayPal login. It is a small oval shaped 'key' that generates a random six digit number whenever you click the button. You add this six digit number to your password every time you log into PayPal, making your login truly unique as not even you will know the number until you press the button when logging into PayPal. You can find information about the Security Key in resources below. The key works in both eBay and PayPal accounts.
- 4 Phishing Protection
Never click on links in emails that ask for your personal information. Even clicking on these links will provide some information to a 'phisher.' It is always better to enter Websites through their original URLs, not through links in emails unless you are absolutely positive the link is legitimate. Again, PayPal will NEVER send an email asking for your personal information.
- 5 How to identify Phishing emails
If the greeting in the email is generic, like "Dear PayPal User" or "Dear Member," beware. If the email is legitimate from PayPal, it will be addressed to you or your business name, however you have the account set up. If the email is addressed to you, but asks for login information or any other personal information, it is NOT legitimately from PayPal, no matter how professional it looks. Also look for typos or odd syntax in the language of the email as a flag for a phishing
- 6 Report all suspicious emails to PayPal
It is easy to report a suspected phishing scam to PayPal. Simply forward the email to Spoof@paypal.com. I have done this several times and each time I received an email back from PayPal thanking me for alerting them and assuring me that they investigated the email and determined it was indeed phishing. PayPal will also notify you if the email is legitimate. Do not just delete these emails, forward them on to PayPal so they can deal with them.
- 7 Attachments in PayPal email
PayPal will never send an attachment or software update for you to download or install on your computer. If you get an email that looks like it is from PayPal that contains an attachment or requests you to download software, it is a phishing email and needs to be reported immediately to Spoof@paypal.com.
- 8 Use your account wisely
Never share your PayPal account. If someone approaches you and asks if they can use your PayPal account to send or receive money, deny the request and contact PayPal immediately. This is likely an attempt to get your banking information.