Identity Protection - Learn How PayPal Protects You
Your Guide to Identity Protection
What Is Identity Theft?
Identity Theft is when someone steals your personal or financial information and uses it to open accounts and make unauthorized transactions in your name. According to the Federal Trade Commission, it's one of the fastest growing crimes in the world today, so the more you know about it the better.
Identity theft is quite difficult to undo, and repairing your financial reputation can be a frustrating, expensive, and time-consuming process. That's why prevention is the very best protection there is. Your personal information is extremely valuable to you (and to identity thieves) so you should always treat it with care.
The best way to take on these criminals is to become familiar with the tricks of their trade. Take the time to learn how to recognize email scams, identify secure websites, and create passwords that are stronger than a criminal's will to break them.
If you're looking for additional resources and information on identity theft, pay a visit to some of our partner sites.
Preventing Identity Theft
Your credit cards, social security card number, and bank account numbers can prove to be a lot more valuable than your money. So you need to protect them with all you've got.
5 Keys to Preventing Identity Theft
1. Safeguard your information, both online and offline
Create secure passwords
Keeping your password safe is the most powerful deterrent to identity theft. Mix upper and lowercase letters with symbols, and create unique passwords for each of your accounts.
Shred important documents
A recent study suggests that identity thieves rummaging through your trash or breaking into your mailbox may pose an even greater threat than online theft.
Carry only what you need
It's been estimated that 14% of all identity theft results from stolen wallets, checkbooks, and credit cards. That's a pretty good reason to leave your social security card and seldom-used credit cards at home in a safe place.
2. If someone calls you or sends you an email requesting sensitive information, DO NOT give it to them
Watch out for phishing
Fake "phishing" emails appear to be from legitimate companies, but they're actually sent by would-be identity thieves. They'll warn you of account problems or other urgent issues in an attempt to trick you into giving up your personal information.
Recognize spoof websites
These are fake websites that mimic well-known companies' sites. They go hand in hand with phishing emails, and they attempt to solicit your user name and password or other account information.
Determine whether a PayPal email is genuine
PayPal will never request your password or financial information in an email, or ask you to download attachments or software. Only share your account information once you've logged in to https://www.paypal.com directly from your browser.
Hold the phone
Beware of unsolicited phone callers claiming to be from customer service centers who request your sensitive personal information. Simply hang up and call the number on the company's real website if you want to be absolutely sure.
3. Use secure methods of payment whenever possible
When handled with care, checks can be perfectly safe. However, it's worth keeping in mind that when you hand a stranger a check, you're also giving them your bank name, account number, address, and signature.
Online payments are safer
When using online payment systems like PayPal, your transaction is as secure as it can be. Another important benefit is that the merchant you're buying from will never see your credit card or bank account numbers.
4. Keep your computer protected
Update your browser and security programs
Install your operating system's security patches when they become available, and be sure you're running the latest browser. Make sure your anti-phishing and anti-virus filters are enabled, and consider setting up a firewall to prevent anyone from hacking into your network or computer.
5. Always be vigilant
Report any suspicious activity immediately
Immediately report anything out of the ordinary-from phishing to fake websites to unauthorized account activity. According to the Federal Trade Commission, you're less likely to be seriously impacted by identity theft if you discover and report the incident within six months of its occurrence.
Monitor your accounts frequently
Log in to your PayPal account and check your credit card and bank accounts on a regular basis to look for unfamiliar transactions. That way you'll know if something's going on before it's too late.
Fighting Identity Theft
If you suspect that someone has stolen your personal information, it's critical to act as quickly as possible to minimize potential harm to your financial reputation.
Here's what you need to do:
1. Contact Your Financial Institutions Immediately
We're here to help, day and night. If you suspect your PayPal account has been compromised, contact us immediately.
Call your banks and credit card companies
Ask for the fraud departments, explain your situation, and ask them what they can do to help.
Fill out an affidavit
Before contacting your financial institutions, fill out an identity theft affidavit prepared by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. This will help you deal with any questions from your banks and credit card companies.
Know your rights
The Federal Trade Commission offers a summary of your rights in the United States, so check it out.
2. Report It to Law Enforcement
File a crime report
Call your local police and file a report right away. This will help your credibility when you're speaking with the banks and credit card companies. In some cases, you may have to file a report in the jurisdiction where the crime occurred.
3. Place a Fraud Alert on Your Credit
Contact the three major credit bureaus
With a fraud alert on your credit, banks and credit card companies will have to contact you before opening any new accounts in your name.
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; www.equifax.com; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); www.experian.com; P.O. Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013
TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
Not based in the US?
Contact your bank or credit card company to find the appropriate agencies to work with.
4. Never let your guard down
Prevent a repeat offense
Identity theft can strike twice-victims have to be even more careful once an incident has occurred.
Be more careful than you used to be
It's critical that you check your account activity and balances regularly after an identity theft has occurred. You should also order a credit report every now and then to make sure nothing's out of order. You can get one free credit report per year from http://www.annualcreditreport.com.