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: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 11 09:41:32 2012

He needs to take eBay's phishing seminar. I just sold eBay stock yesterday that I have had since it went public. This slanderous email to a third-party with whom EcommeBytes does business is potetially damaging to this site, but ultimately, the business policy of threatening free speech reveals the ugly truth about eBay ethics and management. I only hope more shareholders see it and bail.

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

Fri May 11 09:48:39 2012

At this point, there is no threat of NTT taking down this site. We have a long relationship with NTT, and they could immediately see that the reported page was not problematic.

eBay has also contact NTT and informed them that the page was reported in error. However, it appears that several anti-phishing sites were also contacted, and some of them still retain a block on this blog. Hopefully, these will resolve shortly.

David Steiner

Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts

by: Skywriter This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 11 10:28:09 2012

BINGO!

Don't be fooled folks. This is not about phishing. The recent story ''Seller Shows Strange Traffic Pattern on Ebay'' is the cause of this!

The LAST thing Ebay wants is someone to take a ''serious'' look at what many sellers refer to as ''Rolling Blackouts.'' This is the holy grail for taking Ebay down and they know it. The numbers if analyzed won't lie, and that's not good for Ebay. This would lead to a class action suit involving tens of millions. That and the loss of the public trust would be utterly devastating.

TALK ABOUT FRAUD Mr. Piggins....

That is why this happened. Ebay's worst fear is that a major media organization might pick up that story from ecommercebytes and decide to fully investigate it. Ebay knows what the consequences would be and that's why they lashed out like this.

They're scared folks..and with good reason.



Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts

by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 11 14:40:38 2012

Sorry but ebays COVER story reeks with NONSENSE!

How could ebays "Trsut and Safety" take the time to write the letter to ECB host without taking even ONE MINUTE to actually LOOK at the blog post.  Had they done that it would CLEARLY show there was NO fraud and NO information being asked for.

This tells me ONE THING, the TRUE intentions of ebay was to get the blog taken down knowing full well that there wa NO fraud or information being asked for.

If Don Riggins is so INEPT at doing even the SIMPLEST thing such as actually READING the blog then he should NOT be in charge of contacting hosting companies to have content REMOVED.  That is a DRASTIC step to take and should NEVER be done without CHECKING THEIR FACTS.


But again, all this really shows is how ebays "TRUST and safety team should NOT to be TRUSTED and provides NO SAFETY.

This is a SERIOUS issue and should not be swept under the rug.  Don Riggins should be FIRED for such HENIOUS and AGREGIOUS actions.  IF we are to actually believe rbasys spokes person that it was an "ERROR" due to some KEYWORDS being flagges that still does NOT explain WHY Don Riggins FAILED to even LOOK at the post to VERIFY the information he was ACCUSING ECB of doing before taking the SUBSTANTIAL step of contacting her hosting comoany and asking for it be REMOVED based on information he had NEVER PROVEN!

Could it be that ebay figured ECB would not notice the blog was gone and never thought that their hosting company would contact them?  I think maybe so.
 

Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts

by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 11 14:49:33 2012

This makes me fell like dancing. I cannot stop smiling. The bully probably got mad because were calling him a bully and instructed his gestapo to cut off the heads of of the blog.
A federal judge called ebay a criminal enterprise and this intimidation is a crime and in my opinion should be reported to law enforcement. I am so glad we get to see the names involved in ebay's trust and safety and we all use that term trust and safety with a chuckle how harass anyone who does not conform to John Donahoe's policies. This is America and there are laws about racketeering and this is a case of just that. I am hoping that this gets picked up by some news agencies. I am so glad ecommerce stood up to these bullies it just proves what small sellers are saying. That is right JD we are noise and we are going to continue making it until yopu stop your bullying of sellers and make the correct changes.

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 15:17:52 2012

In today's follow-up story, Ina observes: ''Note that the email does not acknowledge eBay's attempt to shut down the EcommerceBytes website.''

1) I'm surprised that they even bothered to respond or acknowledge at all. So... lucky-you, I guess.

2) I'm not surprised that the response was vague and avoided providing a direct response to one of the most important questions about this entire episode.

This type of thing goes far in clearly illustrating the culture of deceit and arrogance that permeates the eBay corridors.

The concept of honesty and taking responsibility are concepts that are incomprehensible to eBay.

3) A couple of things caught my attention and raised an eyebrow:

-- Hoff writes: ''In the course of normal monitoring...''

REALLY? They ''monitor'' eCommerceBytes? Oh good lord! ~ For what reason are they ''monitoring'' the site? What do they expect to find? Is eBay THAT PARANOID?

Is this an idiot-human who ''monitors'' the site, or an idiot-bot script that spiders the pages looking for key words and phrases? If the latter, shouldn't the bot be programmed to ONLY raise-a-flag and alert a HUMAN to take a look? (Instead of taking unilateral action on its own.)

-- Hoff also writes: ''As a result, eBay employee access to the site was temporarily blocked.''

Hmmm. Interesting. ~ The eCommerceBytes domain was added to the eBay corporate firewall/filtering software. Of course they're free to do as they please, but this just sounds a little petty and juvenile. (Did they ''un-friend'' Ina on Facebook too? THERE! Take THAT! That'll teach the Steiners! Eh?)

Also interesting to note is that Hoff says nothing about any other ''blocking services'' that may have (likely did) receive reports that the eCommerceBytes domain should be added to the black-list.

Why would she omit this information? Why not just come-clean on the matter? Why not explain to the Steiners what's being done to rectify the situation?

4) This could very well have been an embarrassing ''oops'' moment with no malice intended. And I would have believed this to be the case if eBay's Hoff had been more straightforward and forthcoming. Hell, everyone makes mistakes. We're only human. Just admit it, accept responsibility, apologize, make corrections, and move on. Simple.

But in this case, eBay's behavior just reeks of guilt. Notably, the vague non-responsive responses... and the outright ignoring of simple direct questions (questions that DESERVE TO BE ANSWERED).

It reminds me of a kid who gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar... and then tries to convince his mom that he wasn't reaching into the cookie jar.

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 15:20:40 2012

How is what ebafia's henchmen did yesterday any different than their arbitrary and double secret VERO takedowns and seller account suspensions?

It isn't. If ebay won't issue a blanket apology, then  I hope the Steiners issue a press release to the country's largest media outlets and most especially those that the corrupt banksters read.

Thank you, Don Riggins. You've publically revealed ebafia for the criminal enterprise that it is.

Don't forget that much of T&S is located in The Philippines where English is a second language to Tagalog. This could explain the clumsy sentence structure and sometimes incorrect syntax.

Ebafia needs the Steiners more than the Steiners need ebafia.

PLEASE issue your own press release especially to the NYT and WSJ.

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 15:28:21 2012

On further reflection... perhaps it makes sense that eBay monitors this site. Similar to the way that some criminals use scanners to monitor police radio transmissions. --- It gives them a ''heads-up'' to know when they've been caught, so they can clear-out or hide the evidence when they hear that the authorities are on the way. Hmmmm.

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

Fri May 11 17:29:28 2012

24 Hours later and what do we have...

Update from Ms Hoff - NONE

Response to the letter sent to the accuser Mr Riggins - NONE

Public statement from eBay corp - NONE

The failure by eBay to directly contact the party THEY wrongfully accused typifies the manner in which eBay conducts business - attack and accuse - then stick their collective heads in the sand and pretend it never happened after discovering they could not possibly have been more incorrect.

Perhaps their fear of legal action has instilled a bunker mentality so as not to put any more incriminating evidence in the public domain.

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 18:14:26 2012

Ric-

I was about to make the same points you did.

I suggest ebafia has less of a bunker mentality than it does a coward's mentality. Bullies run and hide when anyone stands up to them.

They also view themselves as being far too elitist to feel any obligation to respond appropriately and in full to their victims.

But they DO react to bad publicity, and let's hope the Steiners give them plenty in the next few days.

One of the positive things to emerge from this is another stark illustration of the 3rd rate minds who work there.

We know of at least two ebay employees who "monitor" these blogs (Griff and RBH). Did one of them contact their fellow brainiac, Don Riggins?

Today the bankster news is about another arrogant CEO and bankster, Jamie Dimon. But Monday should be ripe for the Steiners to blow the doors off of the evil entity infests Hamilton Street.

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: elpereles
Web Site

Fri May 11 20:21:24 2012

As far I can tell you by my experience as member in other type of forums. If a company tries in some way to block, silent people, or close the site. It is because they are reading the site and consider it a problem.

Not offense to anybody. But if more people were here in the blog making more objective/constructive comments with less ''fanatic'' tone. Believe me, the site will be under attack every week by eBay/PayPal thugs.

The Steiners don't said nothing in public or in the blog. But if a ''little'' ant like me in the past receive some e-mails and even videos from people related to companies arguing about my comments. The Steiners must receive an e-mail for every ''no like'' comment here in the blog. lol

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: Rexford

Fri May 11 22:13:17 2012

Reminds me of the story of David and Goliath.  And we know what happened to Goliath.

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: Rexford

Sat May 12 08:51:19 2012

-- Hoff also writes: ''As a result, eBay employee access to the site was temporarily blocked.''

OH MY WORD!  Sounds like communist China.  Let's not let the employees know what really goes on at eBay.  They might realize that the ethics of their leaders are in question, and rightly so.

Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts

by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Sat May 12 11:09:28 2012

After reading this and all of the comments it really is more alarming than funny . This is a case of intimidation by a corporation that has already been deemed a criminal enterprise.
I am very concerned that ebay has been putiing forth a big effort to squash what people are saying about ebay policies and its leader John Donahoe.
There will be a reaction to the statements that are labeling him a bully and he is being labeled a bully because the facts are clear that he is.
Mr Donahoe you put yourself in this position because of your quest to kill small business on ebay and eliminate the competition for your NYSE Partners.
You want them to take over ebay and eliminate the mom and pop stores on ebay just like these retail giants did all over America.
It will not work we have low overhead and the internet is a different world.
Spying on everyone will not help either.
We can all go elsewhere and survive, you on the other hand will be caught up in the Rico Act and will spend time in jail.
So Mr Donahoe hood continue to steal from the poor and give to the rich it will not do you any good sitting in a cell.
I am sure you can use some of the money that you have required from the interest you gained on Paypal holds for legal fees.
What is going to be next people coming to our doors threatening to break our legs?

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: TrentDep

Sat May 12 13:01:41 2012

The Steiners are clearly in the best position to determine what is appropriate and acceptable - they do - after all, have access that they would probably prefer to maintain.

With that said, one would think that at the very least, eBay would supply them with a complete list of every entity that was contacted to block, or otherwise interfere with the site, as well as copy them with the retraction notices...

I have a few predictions in this regard :

a)  There were no retractions sent, except to NTT.

b)  It will never happen - access is the only thing eBay has over the Steiners, and they know that it is a powerful tool ( no offense intended Ina/David ).

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

Sat May 12 15:45:35 2012

I think the Steiners' formal access to ebay executives was greatly diminished some time when the Steiners' refused to submit to ebafia blackmail.

That said, I think they still have some inside always off the record sources that need careful shielding just as most of us do.

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: Bill

Sun May 13 01:42:36 2012

David,

If this is not cleared up immediately I am in full support of you and Ina taking this public to WSJ, NYT and any other publication.
Their placing your site on the phishing lists, or do you call it fishing like the eBay idiots do, fully gives you grounds to go after them with legal actions since they effectively hampered a source of your income.
If it was me that they did this to I would be on the phone with a few of my lawyers.

Bill

Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts

by: woohoo This user has validated their user name.

Sun May 13 22:33:16 2012

By the way, if Don Riggins has a Linkedin Business Account, those of you who had clicked on his profile while logged in with your real Linkedin profile had effectively been phished.

Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts

by: Harriet This user has validated their user name.

Sun May 13 23:55:26 2012

I find eBay's actions scary. They are obviously trying to close you down. I suspect it is not going to stop, and they will try again with something else.

Perminate Link for eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts   eBay Accuses EcommerceBytes of Fraud then Retracts

by: lonestar This user has validated their user name.

Sun May 13 23:56:26 2012

The Steiners will never get an apology from Mr. Riggins or anyone else at ebay.  They don't have a form letter for apologies, and I believe apologizing for anything is against company policy.

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