You are 100% correct. I agree with you – I wish PayPal didn’t do this.
Now, I can postulate a few reasons why PayPal might choose to behave this way … but I still can’t really justify it.
Let me throw out a few of my ideas.
Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!
PayPal and customer service
Some people simply don’t want to type “paypal.com” into an address bar. Instead, they would rather click a link.
For many people, the idea of staying safer by entering an address and not clicking on a link is difficult to understand. It’s just easier to click the link in the email and not have to think about it.
Many of these people come to Ask Leo! and I understand why they feel this way. Computers can be very confusing. When they see a link, they think to themselves: “Why can’t I click on this ink? That’s a to PayPal. It says it’s a link to PayPal. Why wouldn’t I click on that link?”
Of course, you and I know it’s because not all links that say they are from PayPal actually are from PayPal. And while I can warn people about phishing, spamming, and all other types of malicious activity, it’s still a very difficult concept for many people.
The issue is that PayPal probably deals with this issue on an ongoing basis. My guess is that the customer service costs of dealing with compromised accounts because people click bogus links in email is simply less than the projected cost of handling customer complaints about emails with no links.
Yep. My theory is that it probably all comes down to PayPal’s bottom line.
Links in emails – a bigger issue
Links in emails are a bigger issue than just PayPal.
What we’re trying to teach people is how to treat email and how to look for and be skeptical of suspicious email.
Unfortunately, PayPal is training them to do exactly the opposite. That’s why I agree with you: in my opinion this is very wrong.
The safer solution by far is to send people an email with no links, simply instructing them to “go log in to your PayPal account for some important information”.
It’s a tough scenario. I have a hard time justifying PayPal’s actions, but I understand what might be a bottom-line mentality on their part.
About the links rule
There is one clarification that I want to make to the rule. The rule is not necessarily “never click links in email” or rather “never click links from PayPal in email.” The rule is:
- Never click links unless you are 100% certain that they are actually from a trusted source.
The problem here is how the average person is supposed to be 100% certain that the PayPal link is legitimate. That’s why the rule is usually shortened to “Don’t click on any link in email.”
In reality, I personally click PayPal links all the time because I know how to determine when a PayPal email is legitimate and when it’s from a phisher.
In the end, I agree with you 100%. I don’t know why PayPal continues to do this and I wish they didn’t, but ultimately, they are.