Some people are understandably concerned about the security of their Paypal accounts. The problem isn’t just with the balance you have in your Paypal account; you have to remember your Paypal account is typically linked with a credit card and/or bank account. In principle someone with access to your Paypal account could clean out your bank account by transferring its balance to your Paypal account, then change the account information governing where withdrawals from your Paypal account are sent, and then withdraw all that money.
Many, many such crooked people attempt to “phish” for this information by sending out massive numbers of phony e-mails made to look like they’re from Paypal, hoping to entice a few unwary people to give up their account information. Or they try to hack into Paypal accounts in other ways.
Besides remembering to never give your account information in response to an e-mail (always log into your Paypal account through the Paypal site itself rather than following any e-mail link), the other option you have if you want to add more security to your Paypal account is to obtain a “security key” from Paypal.
A security key is a device that generates a special code, like a password, that changes each time you seek access to your account.
A Paypal security key is available in two forms. One is a small physical device that is mailed to you. After activating it through the Paypal site, each time you press a button on it, it will display a different number. To log into your Paypal account, you’ll need this number in addition to your usual log-in information.
This version of the key costs $5. that’s for the device itself. There’s no charge each time you use it. You just have to pay an initial $5 to get the device, and pay $5 any time you want an additional one, if you lose it and want to replace it for instance.
Note that if you have already been victimized in some way through your Paypal account, such as if your account has already been hacked into and someone tried to get your money, Paypal may waive any such fees for the security key so you can better protect yourself in the future.
The second method is to request and receive these ever-changing codes by text message on your mobile phone instead.
Paypal does not charge for this method, though you may have to pay your phone service provider for the text message.
If you were to lose your security key, not have access to your phone, etc., and you needed to access your Paypal account, you could still log in online without the code. However, it will be a longer, more elaborate process with extra security questions compared to the standard Paypal user.