All large companies, multinationals and corporations are targeted by e-criminals who attack their secure databases, which store information about business operations, and mainly their customers. PayPal, as a global bank and money-sending tool, is a prime target for all manner of scams and fraud and outright digital burglary — and so too are its registered users.
Advanced criminals (as opposed to ‘hackers’, a group of advanced computer users who may have hacked you but do not commit crimes necessarily) go to the lengths of spoofing a company or mirroring its website with a malicious, misleading copy. Drawing victims into such a rouse particularly using email is called phishing.
The best e-criminals manage to deceive people into betraying their own account accesses, or they simply gather vulnerable passcodes and details from the unwary (those we are too lazy to take necessary precautions for security) as if taking candy from a baby. — The good news? Most of the vulnerabilities in people’s online security and privacy are very easily bolstered with some easy steps and extra knowledge — effectively closing off the holes and chinks in the very walls, if you will, of one’s online home and life.
Okay, yes, the price for this greater security is somewhat less convenience if you are accustomed to just cruising in and out of PayPal all day long using the saved passwords in your smartphone or on your computer, with the least security features set up for your account. The main, basic way to ward off e-criminals (e-thiefs really) is to make it next to impossible for them to login with your codes, even if you have a strong password already.
Any codes can be stolen, of course. So the best or ultimate passcode is one that not even you know. This does exist, and it is called the OTP, or one time passcode. This is known as the bedrock of the ‘two-factor authentication’ method (2FA).
TIP: In the world and language of PayPal’s services, it has renamed the OTP its ‘Security Key’.
Look for it by clicking the gear icon in your Account Summary — click Security — then click Security Key. Once the service is set up, PayPal will send an SMS with a new OTP to you whenever you want to login. A thief would have to either steal your phone as well as your normal codes, or, get staked out with a telescope across the street while you receive and read your SMS from PayPal!
Maybe this precaution seems too high-tech, too James Bond, or, not feasible given how frequently a person signs into PayPal. The other liability or vulnerability of using the Security Key feature is its (and your) dependence upon the assumption that the mobile phone has not been stolen, lost, damaged, out of network, or, out of battery power.
Perhaps the only thin area of PayPal’s extra login authentication tool is that if there is a problem — say, one loses the phone — the only backup measure in place is to ask the customer to answer one of the security questions it took answers for when the person registered the account. Therefore, the answers to those questions must be safeguarded absolutely by each user, preferably memorised, because otherwise one could be locked out of the account. (And, please don’t have amnesia.)
Even if you do opt into such programs inside PayPal or any of your other vital service accounts (online banking, government pensions, gaming accounts or access to your bankroll at an online casino), the bottom line really amounts to being a bit smarter, and more strategic when it comes to security in general.
It’s primarily up to you! One thing you can do is install some vicious, bombproof anti-virus and anti-spamming/anti-phishing softwares and apps. Have PayPal send you a confirmation email for every transaction. Another thing to do is keep your email account on lockdown. If you use Gmail, the take advantage of its superior OTP and other extra authentication.
Of course, by all means choose online casinos that accept PayPal. This will dissuade phishing attacks, and along with your new good security habits, can turn off e-criminals from trying to mess with you — since there are so many others out there who haven’t read this article yet!