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eBay Warns Users to Update Their Personal Information

eBay sent an email to users on New Year’s Eve asking them to update their personal information, prompting users to worry about what might have prompted the mailing.

Some recipients were unaware that it was a mass mailing since it seemed written specifically to them – the email included their name with the message, “It’s been more than a year since you last updated your personal info.”

“I have never gotten a message like this from eBay,” a reader wrote to EcommerceBytes. “Is this something new you are aware of? I know they did something like this when they got hacked last year. Oh please tell me it hasn’t happened again?!?!?”

Some people criticized the inclusion of a link to a sign-in page in the email, pointing out on discussion boards and Twitter that it was a technique used by fraudsters phishing for passwords. Others said they disregarded the email assuming that it was a spoof email.

eBay staff who were manning its social media account on Twitter seemed unaware the marketplace had sent the email and advised one user to comply with the request.

In response to a user who had tweeted, “so you are emailing me to help protect my personal information asking me to give you more of my personal information,” AskeBay wrote, “Do you have more details of this message? Was the same message also available under your “eBay Messages” part of the site?” Followed by, “Sometimes we may need additional information to verify your account and protect the community. Make sure to comply w/the message.”

On one eBay board, a user said, “just received a legitimate email from eBay asking to “Click Here” to update one’s account information. Why in the world would eBay use a type of message regularly used by phishing to collect information? The proper way is to direct to recipient of the email to log and check their information. BAD MOVE EBAY. By using this sort of email, you are acclimating your users to respond to phishing.”

No one in eBay’s public relations department responded to EcommerceBytes email requests, and there was no message on the eBay Announcement Boards. Many staff were likely taking the end of the week off in celebration of New Year’s, making it a strange time to send a mass email of this type.

Comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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.