Wednesday, April 24, 2013

3 Ways To Protect Your Ebay Account From Identity Theft

With over 100 million users, auction site eBay has become one of the most famous fixtures of the Internet. It’s an incredible platform for small and side businesses to sell their wares to a global market, and the excellent quality control keeps the community honest and profitable. While eBay has the same professional security as any banking or financial institution, it’s still a good idea for you to understand just how much sensitive personal info is in your eBay account, and why it’s such a prime target for identity thieves. So the next time you pull up your “My eBay” page, here are 3 things to do that will help protect your account from possible attackers:

Make Sure Your eBay Password Is The Strongest One You’ve Got

Everyone knows you’re not supposed to use the same password for every account, but most of us do it anyway. It’s difficult to keep track of dozens of passwords and their possible variations with capitalized letters, extra numbers, and more. But if you’re only going to have one unique password for something, make sure you do it for your eBay account. You have a ton of personal and financial information in your eBay profile, which can even include your banking information. Most people think of eBay as a hobby, and have the same level of security for it that they use for Netflix, Amazon, etc. But you should really treat it as sensitive as your checking account info—because it actually is.

Use A Unique Email For Your PayPal Information

If you’re on eBay, it’s almost a given that you’ve got a PayPal account as well. While PayPal is an incredible service, it unfortunately uses your email as your login name, rather than a custom name that you make yourself. This gives a possible identity thief half the information he needs to get into your PayPal account, the other half being your password. And since your email can be seen by the millions of eBay users, it’s a good idea to set up a separate email account that you use solely for your PayPal interactions. This helps ensure that, if someone does happen to gain illegal access to your eBay account, it won’t be a simple half-step more for them to get into your PayPal funds.

If You Have A Brick-And-Mortar Store, Be Careful With How Much Info You Upload To Your Ebay Account

Many small businesses supplement their physical location’s income with some Internet sales through eBay. If your company has a brick-and-mortar location in a retail store, you can greatly enhance your eBay account’s credibility by including this information in your account. Unfortunately, the details of your place of business, combined with the personal details that eBay has about you—name, address, date of birth, etc.—can be used by identity thieves to attempt to open lines of credit with new vendors. This is a very common way that small businesses get ripped off, especially in the Internet age, when vendors may be less-than-thorough with their background checks, and may open a new account with someone who gives their name, relevant business info, and the appropriate business licenses. So be careful with how much you share on your eBay page, and never give out more than you need.

These tips are simple to remember and take only minutes to implement, so the next time you’re browsing or selling on eBay, make sure that your account won’t become a one-stop shopping experience if an identity thief happens to get a hold of it.

Author bio:

John is a blogger who loves using eBay, although the all-caps, every-other-word-misspelled correspondence he frequently gets from other users makes him worry about the future of humanity. He writes for insurance company Protect Your Bubblewho can help protect your identity from all the unscrupulous denizens that lurk in the dark corners of the Internet.