Is there an Ebay E-mail Scam being sent out?

Question

I received an email supposedly from eBay saying they needed to confirm my credit card number. Since I never have used a credit card in any of my eBay transactions and work with independent sellers anyway, I deleted the message. I'm wondering if this was a scam similar to the Discover card one. Have you heard about it?

- Marilyn

Answer

This question was answered on March 26, 2003. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

The quantity and quality of e-mail scams that Internet users encounter continues to increase Companies such as eBay, Amazon.com and AOL are primary targets because they have tens of millions of users that can become victims.

The most recent eBay scam sends a very official sounding message that states the following:

”eBay account management regrets to inform you that your eBay account has been suspended due to credit card verification problems Your credit card failed to authorize and as a result, your account has been flagged All further transactions with your account will be denied until this flag is removed.”

It then attempts to get you to ‘update’ your account at a web site that asks for everything from your Social Security number, driver's license number, mother's maiden name, PayPal password and even your eBay password.

The quickest way to know that it is a scam is that it does not take you to eBay’s web site but rather a site that has eBay in the address, such as ebayvalidation.com or ebayupdate.com.

Why would any company need you to provide personal information that it already has or has never asked before? The answer is, they would never ask.

No legitimate company will ever ask you to go to another web address to update account information and rarely will they use e-mail as a way to notify you of a problem.

Generally, notification of an account problem will occur when you attempt to log in to the companies web site not from a random e-mail message.

E-mail messages are not secure and can easily be viewed by others unless they are encrypted, so legitimate companies will never ask you to reply to a message with personal information.

The sophistication level of the scam artists is becoming very high as evidenced by the Discover card e-mail scam that actually used a web page from the Discover card web site to trick users into providing personal information.

In the future, a very clever way to see if an e-mail message is a scam is to use the power of a search engine such as Google Put the first sentence of the body of the message in quotation marks in Google and see if there is any news about the message.

If you are really unsure about a message, always call the company that supposedly sent the message (and don’t use any phone numbers included in the message, just in case!) Get a customer service number from the company’s web site or from a billing statement.

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Author

Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on March 26, 2003