eBay users are receiving transcripts of conversations they’ve supposedly had with eBay customer service. The problem? They never contacted customer service. What’s puzzling is that several people have reported such incidents, and in at least two of these cases, the transcripts included abusive or obscene language.
The case is a head-scratcher. While account takeovers are not uncommon, they’re usually done to commit fraud. Here, users say the imposters appear to be trying to get them into trouble. And it isn’t certain whether there are actual account takeovers, or if somehow eBay is getting its wires crossed when it sends transcripts of live-chat sessions to users.
Here are some threads from late June and July where users have reported the issue:
- Is this a new phishing email? (June 28, 2014)
- Hackers ? I’ve been chatting in my sleep (June 29, 2014)
- Underhand snidiness (July 31, 2014)
We also received the following email from a reader on July 28: “eBay sends me an email to take survey about customer service rep on 7/24/2014. Problem is we never spoke to any eBay reps in the month of July. Called trust & safety and they say it was a message sent from eBay in error. I asked agent to confirm that our account was not hacked and the agent said no.”
One person who experienced this issue wrote on the eBay discussion boards, “It seems obvious to me that it’s either someone on the inside or someone is getting hold of eBay data. I remember the other thread about transcripts, posters seemed to convince themselves that it was just a glitch. IMO, there is some astonishing complacency on this subject. Someone with inside info is (for reasons unknown) targeting posters on these boards, and yet some regs shrug it off as nothing to worry about.”
They also wrote, “There’s an element of hacking/stalking to this which, I think, would make anyone at eBay with a sense of responsibility want to get it investigated and find out what’s going on.”
We sent an inquiry to eBay on Sunday morning and will report on any new developments.