If you’re like a lot of people who regularly work and even run their business online, your PayPal account is absolutely vital to successfully managing the money you earn from the web. Not only that, but a lot of us even use PayPal to manage offline business or freelancing project payments, making PayPal even more important.
The bottom line: keeping your PayPal account safe and secure from third party intruders is absolutely vital if you want to avoid a complete catastrophe with your finances and business.
Here we’re going to take a look at how you can do just that, keep your PayPal account much more protected than you’ve possibly got it. And we’ll do this by giving you one specific major tip and after that a few minor security pointers that help even more.
The Big Pillar of PayPal Account Security: TFA
TFA stands for two-factor authentication (you can learn more about TFA from websites like Authentify and what it essentially means is a second but very powerful layer of account access restriction over your PayPal login. Instead of simply inputting a password as you’ve always done, with TFA on PayPal, you also need to input a special single session security key that arrives to your phone or a stand-alone device. The key will change each time and can only be received via your personal mobile phone or standalone key generator device.
This is essentially how PayPal’s TFA system operates, and in order to activate it for your account you need to start by visiting this page.
Once there, you’ve got to scroll down to the bottom where it says “Get extra protection with a PayPal Security Key now”, click the link and log into your account so you can continue.
Once you’ve logged in, you´ll be given three options to start with. The first option let’s you buy an actual stand-alone security key device for roughly $30. The second option let’s you register your phone to receive security access keys via SMS, and the third option is for people who want to register the security key device they’ve bought and gotten in the mail.
You DO NOT need to buy the security key device. PayPal’s TFA system is completely free to use if you simply register the session access keys to arrive to your phone instead of the key device you can buy from the company. Also, as long as you keep your phone safe, it’s just as secure to use it instead of the $30 key device.
Thus, we’re going to click on option two: registering your phone, which you should click on.
Once you’ve clicked the “order” box with the phone image, the next part is extremely easy and quick: You simply need to enter your full phone number with the area code twice (to confirm it) and click “Register” below that.
There, done, in a minute you’ll receive your first confirmation access code and you’ll have five minutes to use it before a different one is needed for a log in attempt to your PayPal account.
You’ve now just enormously increased the security of your PayPal account in a few easy steps.
A Few Additional Security Tips
Now that you have TFA ready and working for your PayPal account, you can feel a lot better about the security of your money. However, there are still a few additional things you should do to keep yourself from being a victim of thieves down the road:
- Never share out your phone with people you don’t trust or random strangers now that it’s the source of your PayPal single session security keys.
- Don’t share your regular PayPal password with any third parties for any reason. Just because they also need your phone, doesn’t mean you don’t need to make half the job easy for them.
- Keep your phone clean of malicious software and applications from unknown sources
- Log out of you PayPal account immediately after you’ve used it on any device you’re working with, but especially public machines that don’t belong to you.
- Finally, keep your personal computer secure and free of unknown third party software as a general rule. This can protect you from many hackers that might have inserted spyware into your machine.
Stephan Jukic is a writer who covers online data protection, anti-intrusion protocols and digital security. When he gets a chance, he also indulges in writing about SEO, mobile technology, marketing techniques and non-localized digital business strategies. When not busy writing or consulting on digital security to groups and individuals, he spends his days enjoying life’s adventures either in Canada or Mexico, where he spends part of the year. Stephan’s writing has been featured on Sitepoint, Duct Tape Marketing, Infosec Institute, The Marketing Robot, Security Hunk and Search Engine Journal. Connect with Stephan on LinkedIn and Google+.