With everything we do in our everyday lives starting to move online, now we can do our shopping, manage our finances, participate in some of our hobbies and keep in contact with friends all from the comfort of our homes.
Because we now interact with each other so much online there’s inevitably been a rise in the number of ways in which hackers, organisations and crooks can get hold of our details.
One tactic, phishing, is a particularly nasty method of identity theft which has been steadily on the rise. This concerns a lot of online bingo players who use e-wallet systems like PayPal because it’s quite often hit by phishing attacks as it’s seen as a popular target for scammers.
What is Phishing?
For those not familiar, phishing is an attempt by outside sources to gain access to your personal details; this can be anything from account information to bank details and even passwords for websites you use.
They normally take the form of e-mails that contain links to a fake website that ask you to fill in your account details, they often look legitimate and real which is what catches a lot of people out. Another phishing email might ask you to download some extra software or to send account information to a ‘special customer service e-mail’.
How this can affect Your PayPal Account?
Phishing is very serious for those who have a PayPal account, not only is it a popular target but since it has access to your finances the last thing you want is your money in the hands of some scammers.
Also all your information will be free game since the scammers have access to your account so you’ll have no privacy.
Although the PayPal staff may lock down your account if they think it’s been compromised there’s no guarantee that you’ll be safe as the scammers have all your details so they could contact PayPal and set your account back up since they have all your details.
What Methods You Can Take To Stay Safe
Although it may seem a difficult thing to avoid, Phishing scam emails are pretty easy to spot and stay away from. The trick is to look out for any emails that seem suspicious, anything that contains phrases like: “Our security system has detected unusual changes to a card linked to your PayPal account.”
You should also be wary of any emails that seem legitimate as they might not be. A good idea is to contact the company concerned – in this case PayPal – to verify if their correspondence is legitimate. Quite often you’ll find out within a few minutes whether it’s a scam or not.
Another tip is to look closely at the email address of the person or company that’s sending you the email. Quite often this will also look legitimate but it may contain odd lettering, symbols or usage of a domain you might not recognise e.g. outside of the usual ‘.com’ and ‘.co.uk’ options.
Also take a long hard look at the phrasing of the email, PayPal will always refer to you by name rather than something generic like a greeting along the lines of ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘Dear email name’.
Companies like PayPal will also never use urgent phrases saying things like your account is in danger or you need to reset your passwords “Immediately!”
Another way to tell if it’s a scam site is if you copy the URL the email provides and paste it into another webpage and the lock is in the wrong place or the page it lands on doesn’t start with “http”.
So in future, just keep an eye out for any fake email; don’t download any attachments from an email contact you don’t know. Sticking to these few tips should keep your account secure and your details safe.
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