When shopping online we generally recommend using credit card due to the buyer protection that it provides. But of course paying on credit is not always as option. Many shoppers don’t have credit cards or prefer not to use credit, and many smaller merchants do not accept such a payment method.
This has led to the growth of many third party e-commerce payment processing websites that offer services to both a buyer and a seller, most notably PayPal.
PayPal allows a buyer to make a purchase on a website using money that they have in their PayPal account. The money is transferred to the PayPal account of the seller. As PayPal has grown in popularity throughout the years its customer and fraud protection has increased greatly, making it a viable alternative if a credit or debit payment is not available.
However, just like any high profile site, especially sites that deal with ecommerce, PayPal is constantly targeted by scammers who used a wide range of tricks to try and dupe innocent people into handing over all their hard earned cash.
If you’re using PayPal to purchase items online, here are our tips to using the site safely to ensure you never fall victim to any scams directed as PayPal users.
1. Link your PayPal to a credit card. If you have a credit card account. This is simply because it provides an extra layer of security to fall back upon. PayPal do refund victims of fraud most of the time, but if there are any problems then you can also dispute any unauthorised transactions with your credit card company as well, meaning you double your chances of getting a refund if things go awry.
2. Don’t Log-in through unsecure Wi-Fi connections. The same applies when using any sensitive accounts. Using unsecure internet connections means it is easy for scammers to intercept information you send and receive meaning they can steal your password and other sensitive information.
3. Don’t log-in using public access computers. For the exact same reason we stated above avoid using sensitive accounts on public access computers. Scammers can easily set up keylogging software on such computers which record every keystroke you make, including when you enter your password!
4. Be wary of emails you receive from PayPal. Fraudulent phishing emails claiming to be (and appearing to be) from PayPal are amongst the most popular types of phishing scams on the email. These emails will contain links to spoof websites that try and trick PayPal users into entering their password and other sensitive information which is then stolen by the scammer. Never click on links within emails from PayPal, instead go straight to the PayPal website by typing the web address into your browser and logging in. More information on spotting phishing attacks can be seen here.
5. Keep your computer malware-free. Malware on your computer can give a scammer access to your PayPal account, along with other sensitive accounts. Always have up-to-date, reliable antivirus installed. Click here for our recommendations for best Internet security software.
6. Treat your PayPal account the same as you treat your bank account. What many users fail to comprehend is that PayPal is essentially the same as your bank account. It most likely contains money and if scammers gain access to your PayPal account then that money can be stolen. If your PayPal account is linked to your bank account then scammers can also clear out that bank account as well! So treat your PayPal account with the same caution and attentiveness as you would treat your bank account.
And remember, only make transactions to online retailers that you know are legitimate. Never take risks because scammers are out there and thousands of users fall victim to various online ecommerce scams each and every day.
These days PayPal is generally considered a safe way to make transactions online, but only if you use it correctly. If you do run into problems you can open a dispute by logging in to your PayPal account.
If you receive any PayPal fraud emails or phishing attempts you can forward them to email@example.com.