EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 430 - November 07, 2002     1 of 2

Hoax eMails Continue to Plague eBay Users

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Hoax emails are continuing to make the rounds, sent by cyber-criminals trying to obtain private information from eBay users. When eBay sellers receive an email from beginning, "We regret to inform you that your eBay account will be suspended if you don't resolve your problems," they often panic. Some eBay users are going to the spoof sites linked to in the email and entering their user names, passwords, social security numbers and credit card numbers.

A hoax mail we encountered continued, "To resolve this problems please click here and login to your account in order to resolve your account problems. If your problems could not be resolved, your account will be suspended for a period of 3-4 days, after that it will be again operational. Please do not replay to this email. Sorry for inconvenience."

We spoke to an AuctionBytes reader who was scammed. "I feel like a fool, but even as seasoned at eBay and the Net as I am, I fell for a scam. I came home yesterday and received an email from saying my account was in question and that I needed to submit all my account personal information immediately or I would be closed down. I am right in the middle of 135 auctions and freaked out. So I did exactly what they said."

PayPal has also been plagued by spoof sites. PayPal spokesperson Vince Sollitto said the company has the ability to trace payments, and they can reverse unauthorized transactions. But he warned users to be careful, and said they should change their passwords periodically. Passwords should be made up of letters and numbers, and a longer password is better than a shorter password.

The best way to prevent being taken in by email hoaxes? Don't panic, and don't click on links. Always type in the URL of the Web site in your browser window.

"Why click on a link?" Sollitto said. "Just type in"

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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