Do you know what "phishing" is?
No, it doesn't mean you grab a pole and head to the late to catch
The official Webopedia definition of "phishing" is as follows:
The act of sending an e-mail to a user falsely claiming to be an
established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user
into surrendering private information that will be used for
identity theft. The e-mail directs the user to visit a Web site
where they are asked to update personal information, such as
passwords and credit card, social security, and bank account
numbers, that the legitimate organization already has. The Web
site, however, is bogus and set up only to steal the user's
Phishers prey on ignorance, fear, and emotion. They also play the
numbers game. The more bait they email out, the more phish
they'll catch.. By spamming large groups of people, the "phisher"
counts on his email being read and believed by a percentage of
people who will volunteer their personal and credit card
The latest attempt by identity theives to steal the personal
information of eBay members hit my inbox earlier this week and I
have to say, this one is pretty convincing. Even this old dog did
a double-take before realizing that the identity thieves were
phishing for my personal information again.
The sender of this email is listed as: eBay Member - rivernick
and the email subject line reads: Question from eBay Member.
The email begins: "Question from eBay Member -- Respond Now. eBay
sent this message on behalf of an eBay member via My Messages.
Responses sent using email will not reach the eBay member. Use
the Respond Now button below to respond to this message."
Listen to me: DON'T TOUCH THAT BUTTON
Of course the email was NOT sent by an eBay member or sent via
eBay's messaging system, as it appears.
The email then takes on a threatening tone.
It reads: "Question from rivernick: I'm still waiting payment for
my item for about 7 days. What happened? Please mail me ASAP or I
will report you to ebay."
The recipient is then prompted to respond to this rather
disturbing email by clicking a "Respond Now." button.
Doing so will take you to a website designed to look like eBay
where you will be prompted to login using your eBay user name and
Once you pass this point you will be asked to update your account
information before proceeding. Unknowing souls will offer not
only their eBay password, but personal and credit card
information, as well, without even knowing that they are about to
have their personal information stolen.
The one thing that makes this scam so effective is the threat by
the supposed eBay member to "report you to eBay."
The email preys on the fear of most eBay members that they are in
danger of receiving negative feedback. Many eBayers would rather
you cut off a pinky than leave them negative feedback. It is this
emotion that the new phishers are hoping to hook.
The phisher is betting that most people will either be horrified
by the threat of being wrongly reported to eBay or they will be
ticked off that some jerk is threatening them by mistake.
Either way the phisher is counting on a percentage of people to
have a knee-jerk reaction and login to the fake eBay website he
has set up clear matters up.
I've yet to see what percentage of people who receive these
phishing emails fall for the scam, but if a phisher gets 1% of
recipients to turn over their personal information, he will
probably consider his phishing expedition a success.
I've warned you about these phishing scams before, but let's
review it one more time.
NEVER reply directly to an email that appears to have come from
eBay, Paypal, Amazon, or anyoen else asking you to click a link
in the email to update your account information. If there is any
doubt in your mind whether or not the email is really from eBay,
for example, open a browser and type in the URL
http://www.ebay.com. NEVER click a link within the email to
NEVER believe that an email supposedly from another eBay member
is for real. Again, do not click an email link to reply. Open a
browser and go to eBay directly and log in. If the email was from
a real member, there will be a record of the inquiry in your My
You must be aware that there are bad guys out there who do
nothing but spend time trying to come up with new and innovative
ways to steal your information.
Be paranoid. Be aware. But don't be fooled.
The phishers will cast their line, but you do not have to take
Here's to your success,
Tim serves as the president and CEO of three successful technology companies and is the founder of DropshipWholesale.net, an online organization dedicated to the success of online and eBay entrepreneurs.