How to stay safe when using Facebook Pay

by Myles Ma
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How to stay safe when using Facebook Pay

Facebook plans to launch a payment system to compete with services like Venmo, the company announced Nov. 12.

Facebook Pay will expand on the company's services allowing users to shop, donate to causes and send money to each other on Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Currently, users can send money using Facebook Messenger if they link a debit card. Facebook Pay will allow users to link a credit card or PayPal account.

Facebook Pay is rolling out to Facebook accounts this month. The company plans to expand to Instagram and WhatsApp down the road.

The service is separate from Facebook's plans to create its own cryptocurrency, the company said.

How to stay safe while using online payment systems

Facebook says Facebook Pay will securely store and encrypt card and bank information and perform anti-fraud monitoring.

But putting your account information anywhere creates an avenue for potential identity theft. To protect your information, be sure to use complex passwords and two-factor authentication, said Alex Heid, chief research officer for SecurityScorecard, an information security company.

Here's how to create a strong password.

Two-factor authentication adds an extra step of security beyond just entering a password. In most cases, it's a verification code sent to your smartphone.

A password manager can help you create and remember complex passwords.

Make sure to verify the identity of the person to whom you're sending money if you're not with them in person, said Heid. That can be as simple as picking up the phone and asking, "Hey, I'm about to send you money. Is this your account?"

Even simple security measures can make you much safer, Heid said.

"Attackers are working off giant databases of compromised email password credentials, so they're looking for the lower-hanging fruit," Heid said.

An obstacle, no matter how slight, can often persuade them to move to the next target.

If you suspect your account was breached, cancel any linked cards and alert the issuers. You should also contact the police, just like you would if someone stole your wallet.

You should also set up fraud alerts on all your accounts.

Learn more about what to do in the event of a data breach.

Image: Facebook