Tuesday, 14 July 2009

PayPal – not your pal.


The internet villains.
It is likely that if you’re reading this you probably have a PayPal account, and use it for things like eBay, buying things privately online and sending money to friends. I know I use it for all of those things – but how often do you actually look at the amount being charged after you’ve chosen your items and then go off to check your bank statements when the amount is taken out? Like using a bank card on the internet, PayPal is not safe. While I know this isn’t related to much else on this blog I just wanted to get this message out and hopefully make some people think about their internet security.

The particulars.
While I don’t know the particulars of online fraud, and I’ve never had it happen to me, I know people who have had the problem. They had used their PayPal account on eBay, and the account was linked to their regular student account. Somehow, after the seller had received payment they had managed to drain the rest of the money in her account. While this was quickly sorted out for her (and I’m not sure of the exact details), I would like to give out a couple of safety tips for PayPal.

The rules.

  • If you have a bank account linked to your PayPal, make sure it is not your main account which you keep a lot of money in. What I usually do is buy my item then transfer the money over (rounding up to the nearest pound) to that specific account using online banking. This way, I never have more than £5 to lose should my PayPal account somehow become under attack.
  • Always check feedback of anyone you buy things off of. If it’s a private seller (e.g. on LiveJournal or a forum), ask for a link to some other feedback, whether it be on eBay or a post elsewhere with testimonials from other users.
  • If you have any doubt at all about using PayPal to buy something then don’t use it. Using PayPal confidently is the way to go, otherwise steer clear.

While these are really not excellent safety tips, they’re simple, especially the first one. Don’t let internet fraudsters get you!


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