Watch Out for eBay E-mail Scams

Several months ago, I received an e-mail that appeared to be from eBay. The e-mail said that I had bid on an item (which I had no knowledge of) and asked me to log into my account. Normally, I’m cautious about entering info over e-mail, but initially, this e-mail appeared legitimate. It had an eBay logo and the link took me to what appeared to be an eBay page. However, as soon as I entered my e-mail address and password, I got a very suspicious feeling.

I decided to contact eBay and find out if they had sent me anything. I was informed that no, they had not sent anything to me via e-mail and that normally eBay keeps a track record for all correspondence that they send you. When you log into your eBay account, you can check your messages and it will show a record of any e-mails they have sent out to you. I was given information about eBay’s fraud department where they track suspicious e-mails and was instructed to forward the e-mail to spoof@ebay.com.

I was very lucky. Because I had overheard a conversation the same day as I got the e-mail about scams like this, I was able to contact eBay and change my password and change my credit card on file so that no one could use my information. However, I could have saved myself a good hour or so of trouble if I had been more cautious and aware.

Looking back, I noticed a few odd signs: my e-mail had a gray button which would connect me to the site (in reality it probably sent me to a mirror site which would record my information then forward me through to eBay). The email also did not have @eBay.com as its source. Most e-mails I get will say billing@ebay.com or customerservice@ebay.com or something similar. While the e-mail claimed that I had bid on an item and not confirmed payment, I never received an e-mail confirming I had “won” the auction item. Normally, I’d get several e-mails from eBay if I had sold or bid on an item before the transaction was done.

If you receive an email from eBay asking you to log in and you think that it is not from eBay, do not respond to it. Go directly to www.ebay.com through your web browser and log in to the website. Check your messages and if no new message appears, disregard the e-mail. Be very cautious of any messages that ask you to put in your account information, especially if the e-mail is unexpected (meaning you didn’t just bid on a product or list an item for sale).

To combat this problem with fraud, EBay has special account guard software that you can get which will verify any emails or websites related to eBay so that you can make sure they are official. Download this toolbar at no cost to you at http://pages.ebay.com/ebay_toolbar/ . The toolbar is supposed to change color when you are no longer on an official eBay or Paypal website and it has a feature so that you can easily report the suspicious website to eBay.

For more information, you can also check out eBay’s security center which is on a link to the bottom of every eBay page or try http://pages.ebay.com/securitycenter/?ssPageName=f:f:US

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