My eBay account was hijacked in 2008. I want to share what happened to me with the community, so EVERYONE is aware of how easily one can be fooled!
My career is in technology, and as a result, I receive all of the latest information on identity theft, phishing, and all the scams out there. Still, they GOT ME! And here is how I believe it happened. I received an email, and it went something like this: "Who are you anyway? You have stolen my auction description and I will report you to Ebay. Here is a link to the real auction" This email included two links, one of which was identified as the 'real auction', the other was supposedly to my 'copied' listing. I clicked on the link, and saw it was for an item that was not mine. I clicked on the other link, and saw the same item. Both listings belonged to Power Sellers with excellent feedback and high scores. It made no sense to me why I had been sent this email, accusing me of stealing an item description, so I replied to the sender that I do not steal descriptions, and these listings were not mine anyway, that the accuser had made an error. I was polite, but firm. Of course, I received no reply back, because the perpetrator had got what he was after - MY EBAY ACCOUNT!
Two days later, after putting the children to bed, I wanted to check on my store one more time for the evening. My heart began to pound when I looked at my auction items and found out I was selling an expensive camera and a tool box! My first thought was, 'What the he%#?!!". There were some watchers, but no bids yet, as it appeared these bogus listings had only been out there for a couple of hours. The camera listing described the item as belonging to his wife, who had died! I quickly looked for the usual way I end listings early, but that option was not there for me on these listings! I frantically revised the listings then, completely wiping out the description, pictures, and changing the title to 'EBAY ACCOUNT HIJACKED! This worked, until I found another way to end the listings.
If you find an item that is priced too good to be true; if the seller's other items are a completely different product line; if the listing format is not the same as the seller's other items, then you have likely found a bogus listing and an Ebay seller whose account has been hijacked. I sell primarily designer clothing, so listing a camera that belonged to my dearly departed 'wife' was obviously out of character with my store and other auction items!
I forwarded the suspected spoof email to Ebay's Safe Harbor Team. They quickly confirmed that this was, indeed, a spoof email. I immediately changed my password for Ebay, Paypal, and my email since I was unsure exactly how many of my web accounts had been compromised. I was lucky, because I keep close tabs on my eBay store, listings, and Paypal account, and the hijacking was caught early, before more serious damage could be done.
I no longer reply to any emails unless they also appear in My Messages. I will reply to emails in my business email account only if I know it was related to a purchase and is from a buyer. I will NEVER AGAIN click on a link sent to me in an email. I knew better, yet I was fooled.
A couple of days later, I received yet another email. This time from a potential 'buyer', who so generously provided me with a link to check out some other auction item he was looking at. This one was obviously a spoof - the sender makes no mention of what the item is he/she wishes to purchase. I immediately reported this second email to Ebay also, and again, they confirmed it was a spoof. I saved a copy of this spoof email and include it here to educate and share with the community how these guys work and what these emails look like. However, I think more people get taken by scams that threaten to disable your Ebay account or accuse you of some 'offense', as my first emailer did.
Following is the actual content of the second phishing spoof email I received. I have removed the link. It is clicking on these links that will compromise your account! I share this email here to educate and inform the community of how these people operate, and to recognize them by the content of their emails!
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I have an issue, i want to bid on your auction but i found one with the same pictures and description but the seller is someoneelse. Please take a look and tell me what is happening because i really want to buy one. Here is the auction link:
If you are the seller, let me know how much for shipping to Miami, FL, and if you are not, this guy is using your identity and you should report him. Thank you and sorry for disturbing.
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Obviously, this spoof was meant to play on the fears of the recipient. Please don't be fooled by these scams! The more we get the word out about how these people operate, the less successful they will be.
Thank you for taking the time to read this guide. Please give it a 'yes' vote to show the scammers and the community that we recognize them and will no longer be fooled by their schemes!
Wexford House Auctions