Scammers And eBay :
Protect Yourself from Fraud Attempts by Email:-
What is a Spoof Email, and how do I recognize one?
I Received a Spoof Email, WHAT DO I DO NOW?
Examples of email scammer messages – learn to recognize them
Other eBay Scams – ship to Africa, the eBay warehouse, etc.
Is there something I can do to avoid being fooled in the future?
a few happy stories
a few sad stories
Spoof (Criminal Theft Attempt) Email Messages :
The current internet email system allows a message to be sent with forged return addresses. In addition, links within HTML formatted messages can also be disguised.
The scammer takes advantage of the combination of these two abilities to send you the “spoof” message. A spoof message is a message with a forged return address (thus appearing to come from eBay) containing a link that has been disguised (thus appearing to be legitimate).
Generally, each message starts out claiming you have some sort of problem (or occasionally, a REALLY good offer, contest win or urgent question) that must be acted upon quickly. The message usually says that you need to ‘update’, ‘prove’ or ‘validate’ your account information. It might threaten some dire consequence if you don’t respond.
There can be some indications that these are not really from eBay or PayPal, such as poor spelling, grammatical errors, salutations and ridiculous claims. But, you can ALWAYS know they are fake because they ask you to click a link (or a clickable button, like RESPOND NOW) in the message to resolve the problem. This is your first clue that it is FAKE. The scammers will eventually learn to perfect their message content, but they must still convince you to click that link (or button).
If the message purports to be from eBay, a duplicate copy will be in the MY MESSAGES section of your MY EBAY. Always check there before even considering taking any action. If it is not in your MY MESSAGES, this is another clue that it is FAKE.
If you do click the link in a FAKE message (not recommended) it will take you to a very real-looking screen with genuine logos and apparently real links, where personal information will be solicited. DO NOT not fall victim to their fraudulent attempt to obtain your personal information in this manner.
I received a spoof email, WHAT DO I DO?
—If you clicked the link or otherwise disclosed information….
• Since that disclosure of personal information has put you at risk of becoming a victim of identity theft, you should immediately go to the Federal Trade Commission’s identity theft website, and follow the directions there for reporting information to credit bureaus, credit-card companies, and law enforcement.
• ALSO file an online complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (a joint project of the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center).
• Also, change passwords as described just below.
—If you clicked the link (because just clicking can acquire keylogging software or viruses)…
• change your password – AND – change your secret question and answer
• run a full virus scan of your computer, using updated software, removing all threats
• run a full adware/spyware scan of your computer, using updated software, removing all threats
• reboot your computer
• change your password again – AND – change your secret question and answer again
—If you did NOT click the link…
• do not respond to the email.
—And in ALL cases above…forward copies of the e-mail or file a complaint with all of the following places. They work to shut down these criminals.
• firstname.lastname@example.org — eBay, or email@example.com — PayPal.
• – file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission: file a complaint
• firstname.lastname@example.org — Anti-Phishing Working Group, or report phishing AND
• email@example.com — the Fraud Watch International Investigation Team.
Is there something I can do to avoid being fooled in the future?
• eBay has started adding a duplicate COPY of mail they send to you in your MY MESSAGES section of your MY EBAY. Always look there to see if a copy of the email you received is there.
• NEVER use the within a message you received in your regular email account.
• Read how to turn off HTML messages from eBay to help you distinguish between genuine eBay messages and scammer messages.
• eBay recommends that you use their TOOLBAR.
Spoof Email Message Excerpts :
The messages below are taken from actual messages received that appear to be from a legitimate source but are actually an attempt to get you to GIVE AWAY your personal information, such as passwords, credit card numbers, bank account details, etc.
Use the rest of this page to view some of the ways criminals are attempting to steal your personal information. You may want to use the search feature, as my collection has grown quite large. Learn to recognize the many ploys they are using. Perhaps then the light will go on, and you will save yourself a LOT of hassle and perhaps a lot money, too.
If you find one significantly different than any of these, post it on the Trust & Safety board, I will see it and perhaps add it to this collection. Many thanks to those of you that have done this.
My collection of phishing messages…
• I first saw the following (Jun-2006)”Please confirm me if this is a same item with the item listed on [spoof link deleted]“. This was sent as an Ask Seller a Question. Tricky b@$trd$.
• “notebooksauction (3804) has filed a request to mutually withdraw feedback for the transaction shown below. eBay allows members to withdraw feedback for a transaction if they both agree it is no longer appropriate. … If you agree, please fill out the feedback withdrawal form [spoof link deleted]. Please note: To withdraw feedback, you must complete the online form within 24 hours from the end of the listing or within 1 day of the date the feedback was left, whichever is longer.
• “Our taxes for sending and receiving money were recalculated.PayPal must repay 4823 members including you the amount of 148.92$ .You will receive this amount of money when you will first send or receive money through PayPal. Please confirm your account,this way,the process will be considered valid.Click the link below [spoof link deleted] and enter your information on the following page to confirm your account.”
• “Hey are you going to buy the item from the auction that you won, why don’t you answer to my emails, if you don’t Respond Now I will contact ebay safe harbor and I will report you ! I am not a fool !” (They want you to click a FAKE “Respond Now” button)
• “I’m still waiting the package to arrive. What happened? Please mailme ASAP or I will report you to ebay.” (They want you to click a FAKE “Respond Now” button)
• “We are proud to announce you that you have won a $700 free shopping gift card from ebay Inc. You will receive the gift card in your email address in 3 days from the confirmation date. To receive this gift card we have to check your identification information with the security number listed below. To do this please click here [spoof link deleted].
• “You’ve been on a super sales streak and since you’ve done so well, it’s time to recognize you for your efforts. You are PowerSeller Silver! Congratulations! joining the eBay Silver PowerSeller Program. Come and join us. When you join the PowerSeller program, you’ll be able to receive more of the support you’ll need for continued success. So, why wait? Join now! [spoof link deleted]” (This particular scam message was extra funny because it was mailed to a seven day old account with only a single feedback, and that was from buying.)
• “Due to recent auction fraud, we have issued the following security requirements. It has come to our attion that 95% of all fraudulent auctions are caused by members using stolen credit cards to purchase or sell non existant items. Thus we require our members to add a Debit/Check card to their billing records as part of our continuing commitment to protect your account and to reduce the instance of fraud on our website. Your Debit/Check card will only be used to identify you and bill any open seller fees incase your initial credit card gets declined. If you could please take 5-10 minutes out of your online experience and renew your records you will not run into any future problems with the eBay® service. However, failure to confirm your records will result in your account suspension. Once you have updated your account records your eBay® auction service will not be interrupted and will continue as normal. To update your billing records please login to your account by clicking here [spoof link deleted].” (Good thing this is a fake, I don’t even have a Debit/Check card.)
• “We regret to inform you that your eBay registration could be suspended for an indefinite amount of time due to the violation of our site policy below: * Shill Bidding, deliberate – The deliberate use of secondary User IDs or other eBay members to artificially raise the level of bidding and/or price of an item Please remember that family members or housemates should not be bidding on each other’s auctions. Click below to resolve any dispute: [spoof link deleted]Regards, eBay International AG” (eBay suspends shill bidders, they don’t invite them to click links.)
• “Thank you for being an important part of our community. As a sign of respect and recognition a little gift from all of us here at eBay. $25.00 USD – How to redeem your Gift Certificate: Log on to [spoof link deleted]. You must log in using the link provided in 3 days from receiving this message. Once you have logged in the amount will automatically credited to your account. Please allow up to 5 days for the amount to show off in your account balance.” (This way we, the scammers, will have 5 days to run amok with your personal info.)
• “Recently, our Account Review Team identified some unusual activity in your account. In accordance with eBay User Agreement and to ensure that your account has not been compromised, access to your account was limited. Your account access will remain limited until this issue has been resolved. … To restore your account you must verify your eBay records ,click on the following link: [spoof link deleted] We encourage you to log in and restore full access as soon as possible. Should access to your account remain limited for an extended period of time, it may result in further limitations on the use of your account or may result in eventual account closure.” (To ensure your account has not been compromised, they plan to compromise your account!)
• “Dear eBay Community Member, The bid that you entered for the item (1234567890) has been cancelled. You can view the reason provided for the cancellation by selecting the link bellow. [spoof link deleted].” (You did not bid on that item, I guarantee it.)
• “We regret to inform you that your eBay account has been suspended due to concerns we have for the safety and integrity of the eBay community. As we state in the User Agreement, Section 8, we may immediately issue a warning, suspend, or terminate your membership … If you feel you have been suspended in error or want to appeal this decision by providing additional information, please click here: [spoof link removed]” (Hmmm, these used to quote Section 9.)
• “This is your final warning about the safety of your eBay account. If you do not update your billing informations your access on eBay will be restricted and the user deleted. This might be due to either following reasons (bunch of legitimate sounding reasons) Your credit card on file with eBay Card number: XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-4322 (Not shown for security purposes) Expiration date: 11/05. Please sign in to your eBay account and update your billing information: [spoof link deleted] If your account information is not updated, your ability to sell or bid on eBay will become restricted. (If your account information is updated, expect the unexpected, like being “deleted”.)
• “Hello, My mother purchased one item from you and recommended you as a seller I can really trust. I’d like to place an order with you but I’m wondering if you accept personal checks (no problem if I have to wait till it’s cleared).I also would like item to be shipped via USPS.What are the terms of shipping? Thank you for your answer!” (The spoof link is the “Respond Now” button, so watch out!)
• “We are glad to inform you that our department have chosen you to participate in our eBay Gold Member(tm) beta testing program. From now on you as a Gold Member can benefit from this exciting features: 50% slashed eBay fees on Selling, Gold Member’s community to share expierence in buying and selling on eBay (and lots more incentives deleted here for brevity). Ready to benefit? Just click [spoof link deleted] to activate your Gold Membership today.” (eBay is RAISING fees, not slashing them – get real!)
• “I have paid for that item. When it will be shipped ?? To view the item, go to: [spoof link deleted] Thank you, [(fake) biddername deleted]” (The link, when clicked, installs a very invasive keystroke virus – DO NOT CLICK the link AT ALL. Thoroughly invesitgate the item number and bidder name before responding to any similar messages.)
• “eBay NewYears User Agreement Update. It’s that time of year again! With 2005 only days away, we have updated the eBay user agreement. As a result of the update, your account will be restricted until you have followed the link below [spoof link deleted] and reconfirmed your contractual agreement with eBay. We apologize for any inconvience as a result of the update, but as a large e-commerce entity we are required to receive an updated agreement at the beginning of each year.” (I resolve not to click links in emails.)
• “You are the blessed winner PowerBook G4/1.5GHz SuperDrive 17″ tow-bit $2,800.00. behind the brawing out of date January-05-2005 . All participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from 6,383,546 individual email addresses.Verification information appointment and address shipping please appeal to next link [spoof link deleted].” (Who’d want a ‘tow-bit’ computer anyway?)Learn More Here