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September 22, 2020

Privacy Tip of the Week: Follow PayPal Best Practices

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PayPal is one of the best ways of making and receiving payments online. Hundreds of millions of people use the platform for its ease-of-use, security, and integration with many major retailers. Because it doesn’t rely on a connection to your bank account, PayPal may even be the safest option for many users when it comes to online shopping. That being said, any platform can become safer. Just use these PayPal best practices:

  • Link your account to credit, not debit
  • Use strong passwords and authentication
  • Shop with verified merchants
  • Check your balance often
  • Don’t open links from PayPal emails
  • Avoid public wi-fi
  • Use a VPN

Link Your Account to Credit, Not Debit

PayPal gives users a few different choices when it comes to paying online. The platform allows users to connect both their credit card and debit card/bank account. Although both options seem equally convenient, there are more risks inherent in connecting a debit card and bank account. In the event of a hacked account, details related to your banking information have more devastating consequences. Those consequences include stolen money and even identity theft. Although PayPal is great at helping people solve these situations, it’s best to prevent them in the first place by using a less personal credit card on the platform.

Use Strong Passwords and Authentication

Like with every online website, having strong security is a must. Although PayPal is already generally safe for use, every user can make their own account even safer. Strong passwords and two-factor authentication are a must for PayPal best practices. Passwords should include lower and uppercase letters, symbols, be longer than eight characters, and avoid dictionary-words. In terms of two-factor authentication, turning this feature on is a must; it requires your account to use a temporary password every time you log in.

Shop with Verified Merchants

Pretty much anyone can create a PayPal account. How do you know the account you’re about to send money to is legit? Fortunately, the platform verifies accounts, which simply means an account is connected to an address and social security number. By shopping with verified merchants, users can reduce the risk of running into fraudulent accounts.

Check Your Balance Often

Whether you use your PayPal account all the time, or only once in a while, it’s important that you keep an eye on your account. One of the best defences against fraud and hacks is a quick response. If you notice unusual activity quickly, you can alert PayPal, disconnect your accounts, and change your password before more damage can happen.

Don’t Open Links from PayPal Emails

Most people trust PayPal. Unfortunately, hackers are aware of this trust and try to use it against PayPal users. A common email scam comes in the form of fake emails that look like they come from PayPal, but really don’t. If a person clicks on a link in these fake emails, they may end up with viruses or stolen information. One of the PayPal best practices you can adopt is to avoid clicking any links in PayPal emails, real or not. Sign into your account in a new tab and take any necessary actions there.

Avoid Public Wi-Fi

Public wi-fi is convenient. PayPal is convenient. But the two things should never mix. Unfortunately, public wi-fi rarely has the security measures needed for private online activities. This means anything you do on a public network, like login to PayPal, can be seen by another user. If that happens, personal information like your email and password may fall into the hands of those who would use it for their own benefits. 

Use a VPN

If you absolutely must make a payment through PayPal while on public wi-fi, connect to a VPN first. These privacy tools encrypt your interactions so no one else can see them. In addition, using a VPN on a private network is also a good idea; more security is never a bad thing.


If you’re in the market for a VPN to make your PayPal transactions safer, look no further than HotBot. You can download our app from the Play Store today.

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