TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: On EBay, E-Mail Phishers Find a Well-Stocked Pond

On EBay, E-Mail Phishers Find a Well-Stocked Pond

Monty Solomon (
Tue, 8 Mar 2005 18:54:13 -0500


Donald Jay Alofs got a call last fall at home asking if he had
recently bought several thousand dollars worth of electronics. Mr.
Alofs had not, and he had a good reason for not being on a spending
spree: he was in the hospital at the time.

Things got worse for Mr. Alofs, a coin collector and dealer who buys
and sells on eBay. His inbox was soon filled with e-mail messages from
irate buyers: someone had used his eBay account to sell about $780,000
worth of coins -- about five times the online business Mr. Alofs had
done over several years -- and many of the coins offered for sale never

Adding insult to injury, fees for hosting photos for the fraudulent
auctions had been financed with $300 from Mr. Alofs's account with
PayPal, eBay's online payment service.

The source of the trouble, he believes, was that his eBay and PayPal
accounts were hijacked through what is known as phishing, a type of
online fraud that collects victims' account passwords and other
information, after he responded to an e-mail that appeared to come
from a legitimate business.

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