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Avoiding PayPal Scams and Internet Phishing Fraud

By Edited Sep 27, 2016 0 0

While PayPal phishing may sound like a tongue twister, it can be a serious problem. PayPal is one of the sites that scammers frequently target because it can be directly tied to bank accounts. Here is how to keep your PayPal account safe.

Always log directly into PayPal. Never click through a link in an email. You may get some pretty convincing spam emails that say that your PayPal account will be closed if you don't contact them or login.

Close out the message and go straight to the source to see if there is a problem. Login to your PayPal account by going through the official site in a different browser. When you look at your account you will probably see that there aren't any messages asking you to change your password or update your information.

If you have doubt about a PayPal notification, remember that PayPal will never ask for your username or password through email. They will usually call your home phone if there is a serious problem with your account.

When in doubt change your password. You should regularly change your password. You also want to use a strong password. Sure it may be a lot easier to remember 1234 or "password" but a combination of letters and numbers will be a lot more secure then the obvious choices like using your name or birthday.

PayPal has a policy that they never send attachments or software through email. This is an easy way to spot spoofs. That jon@PayPal email address may seem credible but those addresses are easy to mask. You'll often see a lot of email addresses that look they are from admin or support when the user has nothing to do with PayPal.

Check the search engine results. Surely you can just type in PayPal in your favorite search engine and then go to the first site that comes up in the list right? If you search for PayPal in a search engine you may come up with sites that look just like PayPal, or like they are separate pages on PayPal. Only login through the official url & make sure that it's not .net or .org. Notice that it's https instead of just http. The "s" stands for secure.

Report any suspicious emails or sites to PayPal. This way it will help protect other users & crack down on the phishers. You should pass on information of phishing to anyone who has just started using the internet or is getting used to technology because these people are particularly vulnerable to phishing scams. Explain to them that phishing has very little to do with actual fishing. It's when scammers try to get your information through illegal means that they often will use on a different site like PayPal. Regularly check your account to make sure that there isn't any unauthorized activity.

It helps to know the basic tactics that scammers use in order to protect yourself. The point is to get you to enter your information on a site that you think is official but really just gives them the info they need to access your account. A common way of doing this is threatening to close down your account if you don't log in within a certain number of days. They may also alert you that there's been an unauthorized purchase in your name and you have to pay for the charge to an eBay auction if you don't login. A really simple way that they may target you is just by telling you there's an unspecified problem with your account and to login to contact customer service. Another popular method is where the scammer will just ask you to update your password.
Be on the lookout for slight irregularities. You might find that the PayPal site still has its Christmas logo up in June; this is probably a good indication that it's not the actual site. PayPal works hard to protect you against scams. They even have a quiz that you can take on their site to see if you can spot fraudulent emails. Taking a few seconds to scan over the site before you login can help you ensure that you're at your right place.

Know PayPal's policy on privacy. This will eliminate a lot of scam emails because it will stand out as fraudulent simply because it doesn't follow the rules. PayPal also won't ask you for your full name, social security number, bank account or pin number or even your driver's license number through an email. The PayPal site also recommends that you forward any suspicious emails to them before giving out any information. Also, if you upgrade your browser to include anti-phishing capabilities the address bar will turn red and you'll get an alert completely blocking you when you try to access a scam site.

Make use of PayPal's added features for maximum security. You can install a plugin on your browser so you can use PayPal at any time even if the site doesn't offer it so you won't have to worry about whether or not a site's PayPal claim is legitimate. You can also fight phishing with an offline device like the PayPal security key. The PayPal security key is a small device that will generate a number at random every few seconds. You'll have to use this number to login to your account. The key only costs $5 and there isn't a service fee. You can also have a key sent to you by text message for free but you'll have to pay whatever you usually pay for texts. PayPal also has free email tools that will put a gold lock and a checkmark icon next to legitimate PayPal emails.

Think of all of the information and control someone would have if they got into your PayPal account. It can lead to financial problems or even identity theft. This can be a motivating factor that will have you thinking twice before you click on an email from a supposed PayPal support address. With a little effort and research you can protect yourself and your loved ones from PayPal phishing scams.



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