what is identity theft?

identity theft is when someone steals your personal information and uses it to open bank or credit card accounts to make unauthorized transactions in your name.

it can be very difficult and time-consuming to repair your financial reputation, so prevention is the best protection.

the best way to combat these criminals is to become familiar with the tricks of their trade. take the time to learn how to recognize email scams, identity secure websites, and create passwords that are stronger than a criminal’s will to break them.

help prevent identity theft

your credit cards, social insurance number, and back account numbers can be a lot more valuable than your money, so you need to protect them. there are 5 keys to preventing identity theft.

1. safeguard your online information.


create secure passwords.
keeping your passwords safe is the most powerful deterrent to identity theft. mix upper and lowercase letters with symbols, and create unique passwords for each of your accounts


shred important documents.
a recent study suggests that identity thieves rummaging through your garbage or breaking into your mailbox may pose an even greater threat than online theft.


carry only what you need.
leave behind unnecessary items such as your social insurance card and cheque book. chances are you won’t need these items on a day to day basis.

2. if someone calls you or sends you an email requesting sensitive information, do not give it to them.


watch out for phishing.
fake phishing emails appear to be from legitimate companies, but they’re actually sent by potential identity thieves. they’ll warn you of account problems or other urgent issues in an attempt to trick you into providing your personal information.


recognize spoof websites.
these are fake websites that mimic popular company sites. they attempt to solicit your user name and password or other account information.

report anything suspicious

paypal is working around the clock to keep your financial information secure. your efforts also help contribute to the security of the entire paypal community.

let us know about suspicious activity you’ve observed as quickly as possible.

immediately report anything out of the ordinary, from phishing to fake websites, unauthorized account activity, and we’ll start looking into it.

remember, the most powerful deterrent to identity theft is keeping your password safe. and paypal’s $0 liability for eligible unauthorized transactions protects you from fraudulent use of your account. see eligibility requirements.

to learn more about how paypal keeps you protected, check out purchase protection and seller protection.

if identity theft happens

if you suspect identity theft, you can minimize the damage by doing the following:

  • contact all your financial institutions, including paypal, and let them know you believe your identity may have been compromised.

  • place a fraud alert with the two major credit reporting bureaus: and .

  • contact your local law enforcement agency and file a report.

  • monitor all future account activity and balances.