PayPal is asking UK customers to download software from Iconix to help identify genuine e-mails sent by the eBay unit and weed out phishing messages.
PayPal, which has long been a favourite target for phishers, says Iconix eMail ID can help protect customers by visually identifying genuine messages. After a customer installs the software, they'll see an icon (a gold lock with a tick) next to a PayPal logo whenever they receive authentic e-mails from the firm.
The free program works with most of the major e-mail services like Gmail, MSN Hotmail, Windows Live Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook and Outlook Express.
Garreth Griffith, head, risk and security, PayPal UK, says: "Staying safe online needn't be a headache. By taking a few simple steps you can outsmart the fraudsters and protect your money and your identity.
According to recent research carried out for PayPal by Opinium, 58% of Brits have responded or clicked on a phishing e-mail link while only 58% make sure they look for the padlock icon when carrying out financial transactions.
The potential difficulty involved in identifying genuine PayPal e-mails was highlighted recently when Randy Abrams, director of technical education at online security vendor ESET, received a genuine message from the firm, containing a link.
He forwarded the message to the firm suggesting it stop this practice because links make e-mails look like phishing attempts. PayPal responded, thanking him for forwarding the "suspicious-looking" message, claiming "it was a phishing attempt".