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Tighten down your PayPal account with the new Security Key

written by: •edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 2/3/2011
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PayPal now has a small device called a Security Key that generates a number needed every time you login to your PayPal account. The purpose is to help protect your account, even if someone were to phish your login info.

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    PayPal Security Key

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    PayPal is now offering a wonderful new level of security in the form of a device called the Security Key. This little keychain sized device generates six-digit numbers that are tied in directly with your account, so that you can’t log in to PayPal without also having a valid number. At a cost of only $5, it’s hard to pass up.

    paypal security key I ordered my Security Key and got it in the mail a few days later. It came with some instructions, as well as a laminated ‘Top 10 Safety Tips’ card, plus a wallet-sized card with instructions and important URL’s. The Security Key itself is just over two inches long by one inch wide, and includes a little string to attach it to your keychain. It has a single button and a small LCD display for showing the numbers.

    To activate the Security Key, you just go to a www.paypal.com/securitykey and click the Activate Now button. It will then ask you to input the serial number off the back of the key, then press the button once to get a six digit number. You then have to wait 30 seconds for the screen to clear, then press the button again to get another number. Once you input that second number, that’s all PayPal needs to register the Security Key to your account.

    Once your Security Key has been activated, you will need it every time you log into your PayPal account. When you log in, you’ll enter your user name as usual, then you will enter your regular password followed by the six digit number generated by the key. For example, if your password is ‘password’ and your Security Key generates the number ‘123456’, then you would enter ‘password123456’ as your password.

    For years now, criminals have tried all kinds of scams to steal people’s login information to get at their bank accounts via PayPal. Now, even if someone were to phish my PayPal login and password, they couldn’t do anything to my account without this Security Key. Although it does take a few seconds longer to log in, I think that added bit of security is very comforting.

    The only downside to using the Security Key is that you must have it to log in to your account. Unless you carry it everywhere you go, then you won’t be able to generate the number needed to log in. If you were to lose or break the Key, then you could order another one for $5. If you need to log in and don’t have the Key with you, then the site will ask you to verify some account information. If someone was trying to break into your account, chances are they would be seeking such info and would not have it available, so it is still very secure, in my opinion.

    If you are worried about online security, I think having this Security Key is a good idea. With so many criminals out there trying every way they can think of to scam people out of their PayPal login and password, anything that makes your personal information more secure is a good thing.