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How to better protect your Paypal account

Hackers, for obvious reasons, for years have been targeting Paypal accounts to steal money. It was not very difficult as Paypal offered their users only basic protection via passwords. Luckily at some point the company introduced 2-step verification, more effective measure to improve accounts security.

Basically, if you switch this on, to log into your account you need to first use your email and password as before. But there is also an additional, second step. If the password is correct, you will be sent a Security key (6-digit number) via text message to your phone. You copy this security key from your message to the website and, voila, you are logged on.

Now, it is not perfect solution as your phone can be stolen or somebody may break into your mobile phone account and move the service to another provider. However, it is far more difficult for hackers. They need to discover both your Paypal email and password as well as obtain a way to read messages on your phone. In other words, for almost everybody using 2-step verification on Paypal account will be enough to avoid any problems. Here is how to switch it on.

How to switch on 2-step verification on Paypal

I have got Paypal account in the UK but I suppose the process will be similar elsewhere. First, visit Paypal website and log in as normal. You should see something like that:

Paypal page

Then, to go to Settings, click on the small gear icon located on the top menu, on the right-hand side. You will see the following screen. Click the Security tab as pointed with the arrow:

Click Security tab

You will see a few different security options that are worth investigating. However, this particular tutorial is about setting up 2-step verification on Paypal so we will focus on this topic. Have a closer look at Security key section marked below. You will be able to establish an additional way, second step so to speak, when logging on to Paypal. Read the general information and click the blue Update link on the right-hand side.

Update Security key

In the next step you will register your mobile phone. The text messages with secure code will be sent to this mobile phone. Just type your phone number and click Register Mobile Number button (left screenshot below). You will get an instant message with first security code. Type it in the window that is displayed. As you can see below, my security code was 286426, but of course, yours will be different. After you typed the security code form your message, click the Activate Security Key button (right screenshot below).

Register your mobile phone and type in security code

That is all really, you have activate Security Keys on your Paypal account. You will be redirected to a page where you can manage your devices. I have not mentioned that, but you can register up to 3 different mobile phones where security keys will be sent.

Test if 2-step verification works

You can now test if everything is set up correctly. Log out from your Paypal account and try to log on again. The first phase of the process should be the same – you need to type your email address and password. However, once you do this, you should be greeted with this screen:

Update Security key

Paypal asks to which mobile send the security key. Since you activated only one, just click the Send Me the Text button. If linked a few mobile phones, choose which phone will receive text message with the code by clicking on the grey arrow. Then click Send Me the Text button. You will get an instant message with security code. Type it into the small window and click Continue button. The security key lasts only 5 minutes, if you are late, you need to send another one.

Copy the security key from text message on your phone and log on

Now you should be logged in again into your Paypal account. As you have seen, switching 2-step verification for Paypal takes only two minutes and dramatically improve security of the account. I recommend using this option and I use it personally.

I hope you have found this useful, please feel free to leave the comment below if you have any questions.

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