New Twist on an Old Scam - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

09/30/03

New Twist on an Old Scam

EBay user James Read thought he was taking part in a legitimate eBay security update. "I didn't figure it out until I got down to the social security field, when I actually figured out this is a scam," he said.

Read, like thousands of other intended victims, was nearly fooled by an identity theft scam that looked just like real business communication. This one asks eBay users to verify account information by clicking a link in the email, but then asks for sensitive information.

"Online businesses that are successful, such as eBay, are now just beginning to realize that wherever you find a successful business, you're going to find fraudsters," noted eBay's Kevin Purseglove.
   
It's a high-tech email swindle called "phishing," and it uses sophisticated techniques to make links look authentic, like one we saw that seems to point to one of the web servers eBay lists as legitimate (https://scgi.ebay.com). How to tell the difference?

Following up on a tip, we asked the intended target of a phishing scam to forward the email he had got to eBay's Trust and Safety Department, and the response he got reads in part, "The email you reported did not originate from, nor is it endorsed by, eBay. eBay will never ask you for sensitive personal information...in an email itself."

Your best protection is never to give out personal information via an email link, even if the page it takes you to looks like the real thing. If it's a company you want to do business with only, you can always start the transaction yourself by going directly to their main website.

Reported by: Charles Gray, cgray@wtoc.com

 

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