As of 2018, there were over 250 million active PayPal users making it one of the largest online payment companies in the world.
Of course, anytime you talk about a popular online company, chances are they are also one of the most targeted companies when it comes to cyber attacks.
The fact is, your PayPal account is often linked to bank accounts or credit cards making it even more enticing to cyber criminals.
Recently, security experts discovered an incredibly sophisticated phishing scam that targets PayPal users and convinces them that there is a problem with their account.
The way it works is scammers send thel user an e-mail saying there is something wrong with the account and it needs the users immediate attention.
Now, the e-mail contains a login button, however, once you click on the login button you are directed to a website, but not the real PayPal website.
The website you are directed to looks very similar to the real PayPal website and even includes PayPal’s icon, along with the typical fine print at the bottom of most websites.
Next, once a user goes to the fraudulent website and enters their log in information they’ve given the hackers access to their PayPal account, along with the bank accounts or credit cards that are linked to PayPal.
In other words, the hackers easily gain a massive amount of financial information on a person, without much effort.
Nowadays, person to person payment services are increasing at a staggering rate with more companies getting into the market including Venmo, Skrill, and Google Wallet.
Obviously, the biggest draw for people to use these payment companies is the convenience factor, which is no doubt going to continue to expand.
For this reason, I want to share with you some safety tips when using online payment services like PayPal or the others mentioned above.
Look for grammar errors. In the e-mail scam mentioned above, there were minor grammar errors that many people probably didn’t notice.
Many cyber criminals are operating overseas and English is often their second language.
So, they may make small errors that can give away the fact that they aren’t legitimate e-mails from the actual company.
Remember, PayPal is a huge company with over 250 million accounts, so chances are they won’t make silly spelling errors in the e-mails they send.
Check the sender’s e-mail address. Any legitimate e-mail from a company will typically include the company’s actual website.
For instance, a e-mail from PayPal might come from the address Support@PayPal.com.
The key part is the “@PayPal.com” so anytime you receive a suspicious e-mail check the senders address to make sure it’s from a legitimate website.
Only link your account to a credit card. One of the biggest reasons that cyber criminals will target online person to person payment services is because the majority of people have them linked to bank accounts, as well as credit cards.
The thing is, you should never have these types of online payment services linked to any bank account or debit card.
The best thing to do is to only link them to a credit card since you have more fraud protection with a credit card.
In addition, you won’t have to worry about them draining your bank account before you know it.
Buy from “verified” merchants. Most online payment services have what they refer to as “verified” users or “elite” users, which essentially means these users have gone through a more detailed account set up process to prove their identity.
This means the company is confident you are dealing with a legitimate person and not a cyber criminal.
Anytime you are sending money, especially after buying something online, check to see if they are a verified user.
Check your balance regularly. Typically, when thieves steal a credit or debit card they will make small purchases at first to make sure the card works and doesn’t raise any red flags.
When they access your online payment service account they do the same thing so as not to alert the company to any fraudulent activity.
What I mean is, they may start by withdrawing $10 from your account and slowly increase the amount each time.
So, just like you should check your credit card and bank statements regularly, make sure you check any online payment services as well.
Pick up the phone. One of the smartest and easiest things you can do if you’re suspicious of an email is to pick up the phone and call the company.
Recently, I got a weird email from my bank so I called them up and the email did, in fact, come from them.
Obviously, it’s no secret that cyber attacks are increasing at an alarming rate and you need to be vigilant with anything you do online.
When you are sending or receiving money online make sure you remember these tips, which can help you avoid a major headache of having your credit cards and bank accounts compromised.