Can Using Paypal Lead to Identity Theft?

Tips for Using Paypal Without Putting Yourself At Risk of Identity Theft

Paypal is a popular service that people use to send and receive payments online. Lately, however, it seems that more and more consumers are worried about Paypal being a possible identity theft risk. If you use Paypal and you’re worried about its safety, there are some things you need to know…

The Bad News

The bad news is that there have indeed been security breaches involving Paypal, and I actually know someone who recently experienced identity theft because of this. This is not to say, however, that Paypal is at fault for these problems. The fault is actually on the part of the Paypal users who aren’t careful about passwords and phishing schemes.

Don’t Be Gullible

It is always important to remember that most services like Paypal will not ask for sensitive information via email. If you ever receive a message that appears to be from Paypal and they are asking for sensitive information like passwords or date of birth, then you should ignore this message.

Another thing to remember is that you should never, EVER access the Paypal website via an email link. If you receive an email and you feel the need to log into Paypal, close the email, open your Web browser and type in the URL manually. This is the only way to ensure you don’t fall victim to identity theft.

Do Your Part

If you do receive a phishing email involving Paypal, report the problem by forwarding the email to spoof@paypal.com. They will take care of it from there.

If you have any credit cards linked to your Paypal account, you should definitely keep a close eye on your credit card statements. A friend of mine had his email account hacked into and subsequently his Paypal account.

The crook hacked into his email account and placed a worm there so that he wouldn’t receive any messages. This worm also made it appear to his Internet service provider that nothing was wrong with the account.

My friend call his Internet service provider to resolve what he thought was a technical difficulty on their end. He mentioned that he didn’t get any email messages for several days, which was very unusual.

The technical support person at the Internet service provider assured him that nothing was wrong with his account. About five days later, my friend found a $2,000 charge to his Paypal account.

It took some creative effort by the identity theft crooks to think up this scheme, but that goes to show that cyber crooks will always be looking for new and creative ways to commit identity theft.

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