Secure Online Shopping With PayPal: 7 Tips To Protect Your Money

Category: Financial News

PayPal is an impressive service that more and more shoppers and retailers are using for online transactions. For readers new to PayPal altogether, it’s a service used to send transactions over the internet. It can be used by friends and family to send quick cash to one another, or by online shoppers and companies selling goods over the internet.

If you’re an inexperienced user or new to the world of online shopping PayPal can definitely be a little intimidating. It can even be intimidating to be reliant on PayPal for the most experienced users in the modern world of internet identity theft and fraud. After all, PayPal is free: is it too good to be true?

Relying on a third-party service to handle your payments is pretty scary, we get it! You’re probably already used to the world of shopping online though, and now it’s time to keep your account safe. That’s why we’re here to address some of your concerns about PayPal and internet safety. Ranging from password security to reporting fraud, we’ve got you covered with 7 important tips for using PayPal safely.

Tip #1: Link PayPal to a credit card

If at all possible, link your PayPal account to your credit card instead of your debit card. Major credit card companies like Visa, American Express, MasterCard, and Discover are a lot better about dealing with fraud than smaller banks. If someone steals your identity it is better that they not have access directly to your bank account. In fact, this is a great rule of thumb for shopping even off the internet!

Tip #2: Your account is only as safe as your computer

Don’t use PayPal (or access any private information from your computer) unless you have an up-to-date anti-virus system, and check your computer regularly for viruses! If someone else has access to your computer—whether you know it or not—they’ll have access to everything that you do from your computer, including PayPal.

Tip #3: Keep up with your PayPal

Just because PayPal is one of the most reliable online transaction sources on the internet doesn’t mean it is 100% safe from fraud or accidents. As with any of the banks and companies you trust with your money, check your transactions regularly. It’s easy with PayPal because all you have to do is sign in and make sure all of your payments, transactions, and withdrawals have been made by you. There’s even a PayPal app for smartphones that allows you to do this sort of upkeep on the go! Even the smallest transactions that you’re not sure you made yourself should be monitored and reported to PayPal ASAP, because they only promise to protect you from fraud for the first 60 days after it is committed.

Tip #4: Only use PayPal at home or from a smartphone

Insecure internet (a connection that is shared with other people like in a cafe or an airplane) is always a bad place to access anything that has your bank account, credit information, social security number, and any sort of private information that needs to be kept secret. Hackers are notorious for accessing unsuspecting internet surfers using insecure internet connections. If you’re in public and sharing internet with everyone what you’re doing on your own screen just isn’t safe. Don’t risk it! Connecting through your smartphone is usually safe too as long as you don’t lose it of course. Whatever you need to buy through PayPal is worth waiting until you are home or on your phone and using a secure internet connection.

Tip #5: Be aware of fake emails

PayPal regularly sends emails to users about accounts and transactions. Unfortunately, hackers also sometimes send emails that are meant to trick you into sending over your PayPal account information. This process is called phishing and happens when a fraud sends an email pretending to be from a known company in an attempt to get your personal information. Avoiding confusion between real PayPal emails and phishing is relatively easy—just don’t click on any links in these emails! Login to your account manually to see if you have any messages from PayPal. Hackers are experts at creating imitation websites that will look exactly like the login page to PayPal so you can’t really trust anything that’s coming through your email and leading you to turnover your login information.


Tip #6: Change your password regularly

Make sure that you always have a diverse and unique password for your PayPal account, and for all of your accounts on the internet. Change your passwords frequently and don’t repeat passwords between accounts. It’s bad enough if someone gets access to your Facebook or email, but you don’t want them to have access to all of your personal information through different accounts as well.

A cheap alternative to having to change your password manually all of the time is to use a password manager. Instead of coming up with a complex password you could use services like Wolfgram Password Generator to do the work for you, or RoboForm which is a free service that will remember all of your passwords for you.

It may seem like a pain to constantly be changing your passwords, but it’s definitely worth it to protect yourself from fraud. Plus, almost all sites have services to help you get your password back if you forget it.

Tip #7: PayPal security keys

PayPal offers two options for additional security that you should look into if you are looking for even more protection. They offer a free text messaging service that will send random security codes to your cell phone that you can then use to login to your account. It’s like a constantly changing password for additional protection, assuming that only you have access to your phone. They also offer an option to purchase a security key for $29.95. You carry this key with you and it randomly generates codes that you will need to login to your PayPal account. Unless someone were to get ahold of the key, this option makes it virtually impossible to steal your password because it is always changing and unpredictable.

Is PayPal really safe?

As a huge online provider for transactions, PayPal is certainly a big target for fraud. In the end though, it’s just as safe as any other online service and it’s just as safe as using a credit card online, if not much safer. The more important thing to remember about PayPal is that they will protect and reimburse you from fraud as long as you catch it within the first 60 days—and with the great services that they offer to allow you to monitor your account this doesn’t seem like too much to ask on your end.

As long as you use PayPal safely it’s a great service!

Do you have any experience with getting your
identity stolen while online shopping?


Jenny Chang

By Jenny Chang

Senior writer at FinancesOnline who writes about a wide range of SaaS and B2B products, including trends and issues on e-commerce, accounting and customer service software. She’s also covered a wide range of topics in business, science, and technology for websites in the U.S., Australia and Singapore, keeping tabs on edge tech like 3D printed health monitoring tattoos and SpaceX’s exploration plans.

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