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eBay phishing scams with actual examples

eBay phishing scams with actual examples

This article provides details of eBay.com phishing emails and scam attacks with real world examples. eBay.com logos displayed on this page are copyright of the company and were a part of the phishing emails I had received. They have been shown here only for the purpose of educating the gullible, informing them of the potential danger of eBay phishing attacks and advising them in detail on how to identify such emails.

In addition to sensitive information (bank and credit card details) and personal information (address and contact numbers), eBay accounts can contain ratings especially if you run a shop at the online auction web site.

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What is eBay?

eBay.com is probably the largest market place in the world! Items are sold either via the auction mode or as direct purchases with “Buy Now“.

You can find virtually anything on ebay.com. I’ve bought vintage lighters (some 1940s lighters that were in near mint condition and needed only a new flint), Wedgwood collectibles, posters and even molecular biology laboratory stuff which was hard to find. In fact, the lab items were for a client and were to be used on an archaic piece of equipment that was no longer being manufactured. I was able to make a 130% profit, just because the customer wanted these really badly and the original company had stopped making them.

So I kid you not – eBay.com is both for fun and profit! There are people running full-fledged business making thousands of dollars in profits each month and most of them are doing this from their homes. From its humble beginnings of an online garage sale kind of web site, eBay.com has grown tremendously and proved that the Internet can indeed be used by almost anyone to run a business. Nowadays, eBay.com lists real estate properties, airplanes, cars and more.

Why is your information at eBay so important?

If you run a business on eBay then you already know the answer. Your eBay account will typically be linked to your Paypal account and will also have your credit card number and other such details.

Losing your eBay.com login details to scam artists will put all the stored information (at your eBay.com account) in their hands. You can potentially lose your online business overnight and would have to start afresh. For instance, the five-star ratings you’ve built over time can come to naught if you are involved in a irresolvable dispute. Also, fraudsters might buy products using your eBay account for which you will be held responsible.

What will eBay phishing email look like?

Like any other phishing attacks, an eBay scam will try to distress you with an unnerving email subject and might also be formatted to look like a legitimate email. However, it will have the same telltale signs of a fraudulent message – the email will not be addressed to you and the embedded links (URLs) will not be of the eBay.com web site.

Email with subject lines such as “Your account has been suspended“, “Change your password“, “You have a disputed item” etc. are common in eBay.com phishing attacks and with a few examples, I am sure you would be quickly and easily identify them.

eBay.com phishing email example #1

eBay.com phishing email scam - click to enlargeThe email is not well formatted but has the eBay logo. However, once you mouse over the glaring link in the middle – “View the dispute thread to respond” – you’ll notice that the URL is not from the original web site, though attempts have been made to make it look like a legitimate internet address from eBay.com.

Example #2 of a scam involving a fraudulent eBay email

eBay.com phishing scam - click to enlargeAgain this email is not addressed to anyone in particular. It neither carries a name nor an eBay login name. Also note the threat of account suspension if you do not act quickly. Do not get scared by these tactics. Feeling unsure? It’s best to load the eBay.com web site in a fresh browser window instead of clicking on a link from an email to put all fears to rest.

Example #3 of an eBay.com phishing scam email attack

eBay.com phishing email scam email attack - click to enlargeA much better formatted email that looks like an actual email message from eBay.com. Also notice the cheek of the scam artists. At the very beginning of the email they mention that “your registered name is included…” however, it’s not in the email at all.

eBay phishing email scam example #4

eBay.com phishing - click to enlargeThis is really a top class scam job. The email is very well laid out and the language is professional. But again, it does not carry your name or your eBay username.

Protecting yourself against eBay phishing attacks

  • Do not act hastily. Take a moment to go through the email and try to spot the loopholes
    • If it doesn’t carry your name/eBay username it’s probably a scam
    • Does the link you are asked to click on from the eBay.com web site?
    • Is the eBay logo included in the message?
  • If you are indeed upset by a email, open a new browser window and go to the eBay.com web site instead of clicking a link from the email.
  • Download and install free antiphishing toolbars from Yahoo! and Netcraft. The Yahoo! toolbar offers protection for eBay and Paypal accounts and also allows you to directly search on eBay.com, eBay Express, Half.com and the web.
  • Report eBay.com of any phishing emails you receive – eBay.com security center to report ebay phishing scams
  • Read the articles in the Security center on eBay if you want to know more.
    eBay.com guide on stopping spoof web sites
    Report account theft

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