PayPal (a popular online payment processor) offers benefits but likewise using it is no guarantee one won’t become a fraud victim. PayPal is so popular, thieves like hacking into accounts in PayPal nearly as much as they like stealing credit card numbers from online accounts.
The real answer is “it depends” since PayPal has advantages and some disadvantages.
If you follow these 7 tips – It’s easier to stay safe:
1: Don’t Link PayPal to Your Bank Account
It’s so convenient to pay with a debit card or bank account on PayPal-especially if you don’t use a credit card-it’s not seen as safe. Money could be grabbed directly out of your bank account if a thief hacks into your PayPal account,.
You can disclaim fraudulent bank charges- the problem being you have to catch them and report them fast to get the financial protection. But, if you link your PayPal account to a credit card and it gets used fraudulently, your maximum liability can never exceed $50. So, it pays to pay attention & “know the rules.”
2: Treat PayPal Like a Bank Account
It’s the same as any financial account when you desire security- At least once a month you should check your account activity so you can catch any fraudulent charge quickly. PayPal makes it easy to remember to log in and take a look as they notify you when your monthly statement is ready.
Frequently they start by stealing small amounts, like $10 every three days. They know most people are too busy to check their accounts daily. If the charges aren’t refuted soon, they stick, then the criminal continues stealing ever larger amounts.
3: Use a Strong PayPal Password
Make sure to create a unique username and password for each financial account you setup online. If you use the same password in 3-4 accounts and a thief hacks into one of your accounts, it’s much easier for them to then get access to all your accounts!
Every password should have at least 8 characters and include lowercase and uppercase letters, symbols and numbers. A password manager like Roboform makes the job easier to remember and recall various passwords, available online.
4: Never Access PayPal From a Public Computer
Accessing your account from a public computer or an open Wi-Fi connection, typing in confidential Info is a No-No. Malicious software might be lurking on a public computer which records your keystrokes. Even working at your own laptop in a library or internet café, a hacker can many times track what you’re doing if connected via an unsecured internet connection.
To access your account, a thief just needs the password to access your PayPal account, they then reset your password and have taken over your account. Visit any financial account online via a [secure] internet connection only to avoid potential trouble.
5: Use a PayPal Security Key
Use a PayPal security key if you want more protection. For $29.95 anyone can buy a physical key the size of a credit card which shows random security codes which change every 30 seconds. It works when you enter the current key code to log in to your PayPal account.
Security codes can be sent by PayPal via text message on your mobile phone. This option is free, except for a small text messaging charge. If you engage this mobile option, you send a text to PayPal for a security code and they text it back to you, quick and easy.
6: Update Your Computer Security
Keeping your computer updated with the strongest and latest security patches and anti-virus software for your internet browser and operating system makes your computer safer. Remember this point: If there is a [secret] spyware program on your computer and you use a site like PayPal, a cyber crook can know your password and username and have quick access to your account without you even knowing he has it.
7: Don’t Click on Links in Emails from PayPal
A cyber crook frequently sends a “phishing”email which looks just like an official message from PayPal, but they are fake emails. Should you click the link in the email, you’re taken to a dummy website that will look just like the real website-even complete with the PayPal logo (that they’re using illegally) If you mistakenly submit your confidential info at a crook’s site, you gave them the critical Info to steal funds from your account.
If any of your financial accounts sends you an email, don’t take a chance of being tricked. Better yet, type in the financial website address into your browser, pull up the accurate website and log in to your account to find and read any message from the company, that is much safer!
Using PayPal does limit the number of merchants who will have access to your debit or credit card numbers, while giving you the same rewards for the card. PayPal (supposedly) never gives out your financial information to other merchants or sellers, and they claim they’ll protect you from fraud if it’s reported within 60 days. They have helped me this way several times.
Since PayPal is one of most popular payment systems, it’s a large target for cyber criminals. If you’re not quick enough to spot a bogus charge or don’t use a security key, you could get hurt.
A credit card or PayPal both offer a similar level of fraud protection-if you follow the 7 tips offered here and create a tight wall of security for all your online account purchases.