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Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu May 10 2012 15:53:55

eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts

By: David Steiner
Sponsored Link
NTT, our hosting provider has informed us that a member of eBay's Trust & Safety team has reported EcommerceBytes for phishing, saying a blog post we wrote about changes to eBay's buyer protection program was an attempt to commit fraud.

Our web hosting company forwarded the letter it received signed by Don Riggins, eBay Inc. Audit and Investigations, in which he wrote

Dear NTT America, Inc.,
We have just learned that your service is being used to display false or "spoofed" eBay.com pages, apparently in an effort to steal personal and financial information from consumers, including eBay users, in order to defraud them. Specifically, it appears that a NTT America, Inc. user is sending unsolicited messages to consumers, misrepresenting itself as eBay, and making statements that encourage the recipient to go to a page hosted by you at

198.64.133.73 - http://blog.ecommercebytes.com/cgi-bin/blog/blog.pl?/pl/2012/4/1333331894.html

ecommercebytes.com

to enter personal and account information. The deceptively gathered information is then sent to an email account and, based on our investigation of similar schemes, used to gain access to consumersâ?T personal accounts in order to commit fraudulent acts such as international credit card and wire fraud.

This matter is urgent - we believe that consumers have been falsely directed to this page and may be deceived into divulging personal information to a criminal if the page is not immediately disabled. We ask that you immediately disable the site at http://blog.ecommercebytes.com/cgi-bin/blog/blog.pl?/pl/2012/4/1333331894.html as well as any associated email addresses, so that this fraudulent scheme can be stopped. We further request that you provide us with all contact information that you have for this user so that we may provide it to the proper law enforcement authorities.

We would also like to ask for you to assist us in educating consumers about phishing and how to protect themselves. To that end, we have set up an educational page at https://signin.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?AntiPhishingRedirector&purl=http://blog.ecommercebytes.com/cgi-bin/blog/blog.pl?/pl/2012/4/1333331894.html to help prevent consumers from being victimized by phishing sites. We would greatly appreciate it, and think it would be enormously beneficial, if you would set up a redirect from the taken down fraudulent address to the educational page we have created, as default error messages such as "404 Not Found" donâ?Tt educate the public about the dangers of phishing and fraud on the Internet.

We sincerely appreciate your immediate attention to this important matter. We would also appreciate if you would take steps to confirm the accuracy of any contact information that your user may have provided to you in establishing the account. Should you have any accurate information that could assist eBay and law enforcement in tracking this individual, we greatly appreciate your assistance, as we know that you do not condone the use of your services for such criminal purposes.
Thank you,

eBay Inc.
Trust & Safety

Don Riggins
eBay Inc.
Audit and Investigations
driggins@ebay.com
securityalerts@ebay.com
For more information on spoofing and password phishing, please see http://pages.ebay.com/education/spooftutorial/

The EcommerceBytes blog post Riggins reported in his phishing complaint was written by Ina in which she reported on seller concerns over changes to the eBay Buyer Protection Policy that allow eBay to issue partial refunds to buyers without requiring them to return the item to the seller - "eBay Buyer Protection Changes Include Partial Refunds, Returns."

If Mr. Riggins had visited the link he reported and was concerned about, he would see there is no place for visitors to enter their personal information. When a user chooses to leave a comment on the blog post, all we require is a working email address.
 
According to Don Riggins' LinkedIn profile, he has been a Fraud Analyst at eBay for over 6 years and claims to have uncovered malicious-bidding fraud as well as affiliate fraud that saved the company $1.6 million.

We've written to Mr. Riggins demanding he retract his report, and copied eBay's communications team to let them know we'd be writing about this incident, as well as leaving a voice message on John Pluhowski's (VP of Corporate Communications) cell phone this morning. As of 1:25pm ET, we have received one response from Johnna Hoff, stating, "Ina and David - thank you for bringing this to our attention. I'm working to right this and will be in touch."

At 3:14 pm, we received a second email from our web hosting company NTT America in which it forwarded a retraction from eBay:

Dear NTT America, Inc.,
It has come to our attention that a recent report made by us to your company regarding a fishing site was made in error and that the site is not host any pages that are being used to gain customer information. We do appreciate your working with us on this issue and regret any inconvenience that this situation has caused. The site in question is:

198.64.133.73 -
http://blog.ecommercebytes.com/cgi-bin/blog/blog.pl?/pl/2012/4/1333331894.html

ecommercebytes.com<http://ecommercebytes.com>

Please do not take action on that page or site since they are not hosting any suspicious information.

Russell R Langner
eBay Trust and Safety

We would be interested in Mr. Riggins' reasoning behind sending a takedown notice to our hosting company, since the page is clearly a blog post that has existed on our site since 4/1/12 and nowhere on the page does it, as Mr Riggins states, "steal personal and financial information from consumers, including eBay users."

We've yet to hear from eBay on how this mistake occurred, and I empathize with sellers whose accounts are mistakenly reported and don't have access to the channels we have.




Comments (52) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts
by: Paul This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu May 10 16:10:33 2012
HAHAHAH! This is the funniest thing I've read in weeks. Always nice to get a glimpse of the dysfunction inside eBay.
Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts
by: RCL This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu May 10 16:12:36 2012
eBay is a bully. You go, Ecommerce!
Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts
by: RCL This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu May 10 16:17:06 2012
Did you know your blog page is blocked?  
Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts
This user has validated their user name. by: David Steiner
       
Thu May 10 16:24:31 2012
Yes, RCL. I assume you're referring to the April 1, 2012 blog post page.
Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Thu May 10 16:34:52 2012
Just a bunch of CS-bullies. (And you know what ''CS'' stands for.)

Petty criminal thugs sending around their ''enforcers'' to harass and strong-arm anyone who tells the truth about eBay, or who makes eBay look bad.

It always amuses me when people like ''Colderice'' and others strut in here to post messages that ridicule us for writing anonymous letters-to-the-editor, and for using unidentifiable pseudonyms in our blog responses.

It is for THIS VERY REASON that the small sellers who are critical of eBay/PP want to remain anonymous and unidentifiable!! We don't want to be victims of eBay/PP retaliation!!!

As Ina points out, the small sellers do not have access to the resources and other inside-connections that she and David do... and lacking that, this type of outrageous behavior would be DEVASTATING to those who depend on the extra income they can scape together on eBay.

I predict that whatever mea-culpa may come along will be half-hearted and insincere... and will lack any specifics as to why such an absurd thing could have happened in the first place. (As if ANY excuse would be believable! I think we all know that this was intentional. Premeditated. Planned. Sanctioned. Authorized.)

As irritating as it may be for the Steiners, there is one good thing that we can surmise from all of this. Namely... that eBay execs and policy makers are READING this blog... and our ''noise'' is making them uncomfortable. They're feeling the heat.

What other reason would eBay/PP have for doing what they did? This was a ''warning shot'' across the bow. This was clearly a ''watch your step'' message.

It was an amateurish attempt to intimidate and to be a nuisance... but who knows WHAT they're capable of in the future.

CS THUGS!  
Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts
This user has validated their user name. by: Doc
       Web Site
Thu May 10 17:43:37 2012
Reminds me of the Vladuz days when eBay tried to intimidate fall-internet.de.

eBay Attorney Scott Noice's intimidation letter is toward the bottom of this page: http://www.ebaymotorssucks.com/rflello.htm

Same dirty intimidation tactic. Screw ePiggy!
Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts
by: trickstunt This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu May 10 17:55:03 2012
@Doc, We remember how that worked worked out for them don't we all?

Ebay should correct their own problems before they start falsely accusing sites with critical content.

http://www.kb.cert.org/vuls/id/808921
(Been going on for years and years, uncorrected)

What is it on that blog that they don't want the world to know? I think Ming The Merciless scared them. rotfl! We should repost it everywhere.

While I doubt any of you will close your accounts and make any real meaningful noise and/or protests, those are the only languages that ebay/paypal understands- (lack of) Money and bad PR.

Are you all going to kowtow to these white-collar twerpo gangster wannabees or speak to them in a way which gets the message through?
Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Thu May 10 18:10:39 2012
On further thought, I wonder if someone sent a personal email to Mr. Riggins for the purpose of drawing his attention to the blog post.

Perhaps Mr. Riggins' email buddy simply included a link and a brief comment that said ''Hey, Don! Check out this page. People are pretty angry about the new policy. We've got those jerks right where we want them now. HA!''

Next, instead of READING the personal email, Mr. Riggins dumps it into the ''Process-Automatically'' folder, where some CGI script takes over, extracts all the URL's... does an automatic ''whois'' lookup on the domain... and dutifully sends out harassing and threatening letters to every contact point it's able to discover.

Other than throwing the ''complaint'' emails into the auto-process folder, there's no human interaction required. Everything else is ALL AUTOMATIC! Isn't technology wonderful?!

If my hypothesis is accurate... or if it's anywhere CLOSE to the edge of the truth, it would definitely prove to be a frightening look into the inner-workings and the overall LAZY INCOMPETENCE that plagues eBay/PP.

This would be an offshoot of the same mentality that drives the customer ''service'' department... a belief that everything can be automated and that no human need ever review facts or make an intelligent decision about anything.

Just plug-it-in and let 'er rip! Easy-peasy!

Don't get me wrong, I'm all in favor of fraud prevention... and I applaud efforts to eliminate it. But one might assume that eBay/PP could take a more interactive and sophisticated approach to this. (Again, assuming that I'm getting close to the truth.) Especially in consideration of the fact that the actions that eBay DEMANDS of the ISP's... along with the fact that eBay intends to report people to law enforcement officials... these things will definitely have a tragic impact on the innocent folks who are caught up in eBay's web.

Perhaps Don Riggins is a cousin of the famous ''S. Larsen'' at MasterCard. Of course ''S. Larsen'' (the digital signature that appears on EVERY letter sent out by MasterCard) isn't a real person. So noting the obvious lack of human involvement with this process, I suppose I should also consider the possibility that Don Riggins isn't a real person.
Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts
by: trickstunt This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu May 10 18:22:49 2012
One more thing... How is it that ebay and paypal send out clickable links with every communique? Are they training people to click links, and are they behind the phishing?

Why else would they allow that critical xss flaw, and supply endless clickable links whch go against all common sense and conventional wisdom?

And besides that, why are there so many places to buy fake accounts for both ebay and paypal? That's been mentioned/posted about here before and someone else just found more within the last few days/week.

Why is eBay harassing news sites while these other things are still ongoing?

I think the odds are better than 50/50 they are behind that jazz. Why? Simple. Because they can, and by their deeds, we know them.

The community bds. need to know about this post too btw.
Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts
This user has validated their user name. by: Doc
       Web Site
Thu May 10 18:43:29 2012
Anyone remember that guy that operated eauctionair.com? He was a riot.. Kept calling Vladuz, Vladush on his radio show. LOL!

I bet this was one of eBay's sloppily programed bots that misreported false data. And with eBay is as usual didn't bother to have a human check it out before sending out a form letter.

I think most of eBay's bots run out of 216.113.168.179 Just wildcard block 216.113.* in your .htaccess file. Should do the trick.

I once had a little surprise for them hidden in a 403 page. Hehehehe..
Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts
This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless
       
Thu May 10 19:14:37 2012
Small sellers aren't the only entities ebafia wants exterminated.

They've been after the Steiners since The Ho took over.

Two incidents come to mind.

Shortly after The Omnipotent Ho took over, Ina reported -- and I'm paraphrasing -- that an ebafia executive told her they didn't like the the "tone" of the then Auctionbytes website or reporting.

From that point on if the "tone" didn't please ebafia, the Steiners' access to top ebafia executives would be cut off. But if the Steiners improved the "tone" to ebay's satisfaction the they not only would have access to ebafia management but that ebafia would pay their expenses for an upcoming meeting.

In other words, attempted bribery and extortion.

The second incident occurred when the head of ebafia's laughable public relations department, Jose Mallabo, posted a vicious and mean personal attack on Ina here.

Mallabo left ebafia not too long afterwood and when last heard from was posting asinine comments on some social blog.

Johnna, Joannna, Janna or whatever Hoff's sarcastic, condescending, and often quite late responses to some queries and no responses to others is quite revealing as well.

Here's the BIG blockbuster conclusion: ebafia doesn't like the Steiners, and they don't like us.

Are we surprised?

Not so well known as Ming's ebay law # 1 are Ming's ebay laws #2 and #3:

Ming's ebay Law #2:

EBAY REMOVES, TRIES TO GET REMOVED, OR DISCREDITS SPEECH THEY DON'T LIKE ANYWHERE ON THE INTERNET.

Ming's ebay Law #3:

EBAY RETALIATES AGAINST CRITICS USING EVERY MEANS AT THEIR DISPOSAL AND BY ANY MEANS THEY DEEM NECESSARY INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO NUMEROUS BLACK BUDGET OPERATIONS AND UNETHICAL SOCIAL ENGINEERING.

And here's some more ebafia news to digest:

Ebafia just announced plans to build a tech center in Utah? No. in California? No. in Texas? No. in New York? No. in Oregon? No. in Washington? No>

IN INDIA! 1000 jobs that Americans could perform are being once again offshored to the Pacific Rim.

Re: ResumeGate. The Ho announced today (he's the Pacific Rim sucking up to the Communist Chinese government so they give hima PayPal license) that ebafia's SEC filing re Scott Thompson's CV were correct.

In the best tradition of bayspeak, however, The Ho did say that "some" of ebafia PR materials "may" have bogus information about Thompson's educational credentials but that ebafia SEC filings were correct.

The Ho also claims to be Thompson's "biggest fan" which says still more about The Ho's value system or lack thereof.

Translation of HoSpeak: we LIED in PR materials because there's no penalty or fine for doing so.

This got me to thinking what other ebafia PR materials may contain LIES.

Ebafia: we're all about LYING. And we if we can't LIE our way out of it, we'fe not above extortion, bribery, and an array of heavy handed tactics.

Die, ebafia, Die.

Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts
This user has validated their user name. by: Doc
       Web Site
Thu May 10 20:05:13 2012
eBay can stick it where the sun don't shine.

Yea i read about all those jobs Donahoe is creating in India. That really sux!

It's only a matter of time until someone or something screws up at eBay Inc. Geez so far this year two PayPig employees committed suicide, who's next?

I think the Steiners should Sue eBay!  
Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts
by: Susan T This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Thu May 10 20:56:26 2012
Ina, don't be scared off by these bullies. In my opinion both you and David are superheroes. You have always provided us sellers with great news and information in the many, many years that I have been reading and enjoying your column.

Sounds to me like eBay is trying even harder now to silence the truth. Appears they are getting rather paranoid and even nuttier. It is simply amazing how low they will go to silence truthful reporting.  
Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts
This user has validated their user name. by: Ric
       
Thu May 10 21:04:01 2012
How typical of the corporate culture at eBay.

They assume guilt, fail to thoroughly or even summarily investigate their own assertions, make wild and baseless allegations of criminal activity against an innocent party, then attempt to influence a third party to take action against the innocent party in order to act as an enforcer / protector of eBay - all over nothing.

Is eBay really this desperate to silence critics? Apparently so.

eBay's failure to investigate before making false and baseless accusations of criminal activity to a third party are libelous and need to be answered for in a court of law.

David & Ina, if the settlement is big enough, start an eCommercebytes marketplace and use their own money against them.
Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts
This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly
       
Thu May 10 21:18:49 2012
The wise eBa'al executive always has their resume and networking connections at the ready.

From Don Riggins' LinkedIn:

''Excellent communicator with emphasis on building strong client relationships, capable of making professional presentations.''

Just not good at clicking on links.
Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts
This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless
       
Fri May 11 01:01:58 2012
Annie wrote:

"Perhaps Don Riggins is a cousin of the famous ''S. Larsen'' at MasterCard. Of course ''S. Larsen''

Don Riggins is to fraud prevention what Griff is to seller advocacy.
Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts
This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless
       
Fri May 11 01:07:54 2012
I hope the Steiners will demand a written apology that's sent to the media outlets of the Steiner's choice and one that explains IN FULL how and why this happened and what ebafia intends to do in the future to prevent such unfettered arbitrary actions.

This criminal corporate enterprise is even more out of control than we knew and far, far more stupid.

Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts
by: AC_in_Mich This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri May 11 07:42:04 2012
LOL - you must of scared them, though.  Notice the spelling and grammatical mistakes in the retraction letter.  
Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts
This user has validated their user name. by: Al G
       
Fri May 11 09:13:23 2012
Response: "Dear NTT America, Inc.,
It has come to our attention that a recent report made by us to your company regarding a fishing site was made in error and that the site is not host any pages that are being used to gain customer information. "

Fishing site? I never told anyone about my favorite fishing site - still trying to grab "silver scales"....

Really, did this response come from a place where English is a 2nd language?

Korporate Kommunications at its best.
Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Fri May 11 09:22:24 2012
''... made in error and that the site is not host any pages that ...''

Perhaps outsourced?

I am very much at this grammar laugh.
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