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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2802 - May 11, 2012 - ISSN 1539-5065    1 of 5

eBay Admits Error in Bungled Phishing Report

By Ina Steiner
May 11, 2012

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eBay tried to shut down a post on the EcommerceBytes Blog on Thursday after mistakenly identifying the page as part of a phishing scam. Ironically the page had been publicly available for 40 days before eBay reported it.

eBay fraud analyst Don Riggins sent a request to NTT America on May 10 stating that a page on the EcommerceBytes Blog tricked visitors into entering personal and account information and used the information to gain access to consumers' personal accounts in order to commit fraudulent acts such as international credit card and wire fraud.

The page eBay said was used to phish users account information actually contained a blog post reporting 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.

The full letter eBay sent to NTT America is published on Thursday's EcommerceBytes Blog.

After EcommerceBytes contacted eBay's communications team, eBay sent another letter to NTT America stating its initial report had been made in error. The second letter stated, "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."

eBay's Senior Manager of Media Relations Johnna Hoff emailed EcommerceBytes an explanation later that day.

"In the course of normal monitoring, a combination of keywords on an eCommerceBytes blog post was flagged for its similarity to potentially fraudulent references unrelated to eCommerceBytes. As a result, eBay employee access to the site was temporarily blocked. Access has been restored. eBay respects eCommerceBytes and apologizes for any inconvenience."

Note that the email does not acknowledge eBay's attempt to shut down the EcommerceBytes website.

EcommerceBytes has been educating ecommerce buyers and sellers about fraud and phishing attempts since 2002 and houses a Fraud Resource Center.

Comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

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 ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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