eBay Fraud

October 14th, 2005

I saw a new kind of email scam for eBay that was amusing. I had someone email me the following…

I am interested and will like to know the shipping from Chicago IL, handling and your form of payment!!!

and since I was not selling anything on eBay and fraud, internet, media and everything in between is my business, I was intrigued. Of course, the link pointed to some IP in france and not eBay but thats the boring part.

Needless to say, ebay needs to find a new way to deliver messages to their customers, one that does not include logging in or sending information via email. How about including some sort of an “email secret” with every email? If that does not show up inside the message, it can easily be deemed to be invalid. PGP comes to mind, but judging from their track record and the pain of installation, it would never fly. I also hear that with the recent acquisition of the Verisign PayFlow business by eBay, they are supposed to buy some tokens (approx. 1 million) from Verisign to assign to Paypal customers. Interesting turn of events.

[Cross posted here and elsewhere]




  1. Nils (3 comments.) says:

    Boooring :p How is this different from the problem faced by banks, paypal, and whatever other sites there are that are exploited by phishers? That’s what you all get for allowing HTML in mails anyway. Back in my days, emails were plain text only. People just need to be vigilant and start being smart about email.

  2. HARDCASe (1 comments.) says:

    Some of us do not believe we are superior to all and above the fray. Some of us are grateful for the heads-up. Thank you.

  3. Jay V (1 comments.) says:

    WERD UP DAWG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I love the warning

    plus, the new ways scammers try and hack gullible parties.

  4. birthright123 says:

    I do not agree with what you are saying aboout it being the same for banks, paypal,etc.. My husband has just put a few things on ebay and I would not like to think about him get scerwed over by some computer in France. People who use ebay should have some type of fail-safe against fruad. That way they don’t have to worry to much about wether or not the offer is true. They have those fail-safes for hotmail and yahoo so computers don’t sign up. Why not the same for ebay. Especially since we have so much technolgoy. Answer me that.

  5. Chris Gray (1 comments.) says:

    As nils pointed out, people just need to use common sense and not instantly trust every email that hits the inbox.

    Phishing works because people fall for it, not due to inadequate security measures. It’s the same reason telemarketings works, and the same way those annoying “pass this to ten of your friends to save a kid from cancer” emails end up finding you. It works, so long as people let it work.

    It’s not rocket-science, it’s not paranoia, it’s just common sense.

  6. janette says:

    i just signed on with ebay the first time i used it . it was fraud it was on ebays secure site the items were fraud and the ebay help customer support was also fraud. how can a site be all fraud. i talked to the presidents office chet ricketts he told ebay is to big to get all the fraud and he was sorry but it was my fought . he will do nothing to get my $5605 back for me. even though the ebay site is secure https and lock at bottom . him took no blame. now i am out the money and have no items. the items are back on under new name and number. i called the new person he told me a hacker went on ebay on his items. i have the email of the ebay customer support that got my money and it is in another language with a whole page of more ebay deals with him .the police and fbl told me i will not get my money back and they will look at the case in a few months . western union told me they have the ids and they should be on the store secuity cameras and the email servers have the info on the ebay emailers but they can only give it to the law but i call them every day and tell them new things i find out they do not care. the new item have comments from other members they want to know it these items are a scam that pay for them too. bbb has over 2000 complaints just in san jose on in ebay. ebay should take responsiblity for its site and get the money back and not let this happen to more people.

  7. Lars (1 comments.) says:

    I disagree with Mr. Gray and nils. Scam artists are very sophisticated and they are not praying on individual’s lack of common sense. They are praying on the brand name of ebay. They are representing to be someone that they are not. Mr. Gray and nils seem to suggest that it is as simple as telling the difference between your mother and a hairy, 45 year old man dressed as your mother. Do not underestimate the sophistication of these criminals.

    That said, I agree with Mr. Gray and nils in that common sense and healthy skepticism is probably the best tool for protecting oneself. But, we have all been scammed out of things. Many times we are scammed by people who say things like “I love you.” Thus, there is no shame in being a victim because no matter how often you have yourself on guard, there are some times when a scam is going to penetrate your defenses.

    Finally, because ebay is a business and has a reputation to protect, it should take greater steps to ensure that individuals are protected. It is not a matter of “to each his or her own.” Ebay should protect individuals out a self interest. I promise you that janette will never buy anything on ebay again. She was willing to spend $5600. That is the loss of a substantial customer. Imagine if a car company sold a car without an engine to 1 out of every 1000 customers. That company would lose customers and lose business. This complaint should be coming from the shareholders and not from individuals who have become victims of fraud. Ebay is poised to be a vital part of the world’s economy. It allows every individual enter into contracts and bargain for the best possible price. Can individuals do this Walmart, Target, or Sears? Ebay has the potential to be capitalism at its best. However, if it allows criminals to harm its reputation, it will lose customers. Relationships and trust are the cornerstone of good business. I would not be suprised if ebay’s earnings level off and slump, if fraud continues to increase.

    As an aside, I’m writing this because I just had a large sale on ebay and the minute the sale went through I was inundated with fraudulent emails and cancelled account notices. Thankfully, I do not believe that I’m a victim of fraud yet, but every fraudulent email is time wasted and dissatisfaction with ebay.

  8. j b enjamin says:

    im new to ebay,havent bought nothing yet.thanks for the warning

  9. Martin (1 comments.) says:

    Always funny pictures:


  1. Burning Hate says:

    Ebay: a tale of sorrow

    Allow me to share…
    I bought a network card on Ebay last week. No biggie.
    Then the bank deposit method failed at the bank after they couldn’t find his bank’s contact details. And it cost me $5 to try.
    Sigh. Still, one must keep sig…

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