This week, PayPal and eBay joined forces with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to give consumers some helpful security tips, as well as update folks on how we keep people secure online.
“It’s now easier than ever to sell electronics, fashion items and even your car on marketplaces like eBay and find buyers within days, or even hours. You should feel secure when you list your items for sale or buy online,” wrote Andy Steingruebl, PayPal’s Director of Ecosystem Security, in a recent blog post. “At PayPal, we take your safety and security very seriously - we’ve been providing a secure payment system for millions of people for 15 years. Our experience and technology help us to predict, identify and stop criminals. PayPal’s fraud models and verification techniques are recognized as some of the best in the industry.”
Keeping our users safe and secure is our top priority, however, an educated consumer is an important partner in our efforts. Here are some simple ways that people can stay secure when shopping and selling online:
1. Beware careful when clicking links in email. Criminals typically send emails telling you that you need to act now to get your personal information. Then they send you to a fake Web site to steal your information.
Tips: If you get an email from PayPal that you feel may be suspicious, please forward to [email protected].
2. Use a strong, secure password. Using the same password at multiple sites is like using the same key for your house, your car, and your office. If something happens to that key, you could be in trouble.
Tip: In addition to using different passwords for different sites, using an obvious password like “password” or the name or birthday of a family member is a very common mistake. Instead, use a strong password, which includes a combination of upper and lowercase letters and numbers.
3. Protect your device. Shopping online on an unprotected computer or outdated mobile operating system is like driving without a seat belt.
Tips: Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Many software and antivirus programs automatically update to defend against known risks. Turn on automatic updates on any device – such as laptops, mobile phones and gaming consoles – that connects to the Internet if that’s an available option.
4. Use an email provider that supports email verification. Criminals will often send phishing emails trying to trick you into revealing sensitive information. These messages may look legitimate when viewing them, but email verification technology automatically detects when an email is trying to masquerade as if it comes from reputable companies such as PayPal.
Tips: Major webmail providers such as Gmail, Outlook.com, and Yahoo support strong email verification. Using them as your primary email provider significantly decreases the likelihood that you will receive fraudulent email purporting to be from PayPal.
5. Use common sense. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. A common way to trick someone into following links and doing something risky is to play on fear (e.g. “Your account is suspended”) and greed (e.g. “Claim $100 now”).
Tips: Use common sense when considering what to do online. If you wouldn’t do something in the offline world, don’t assume it’s okay online. Trust your instincts.
To learn more about PayPal and eBay’s commitment to safety and security, please read Steingruebl’s recent blog plost.