Are eBayers and PayPalers Really That Dumb?

By now you have no doubt read no less then six zillion warnings about “phishing”. (See definition below)

Sorry to test your patience, but here’s yet another one.

I have a small presence on eBay selling art prints and posters. A hundred years ago, (maybe I exaggerate a little), I had three gallery/frame shops that I sold to someone that wanted them more then I did. About a year, maybe two years, back I decided I wanted to see about all the hype surrounding eBay. Truth be known, I also wanted to use it as an excuse to get back into the art business. Conversely, I reestablished a number of old contacts with some of my friends and associates in the publishing business. That is when I set up my eBay Store.

One of the things I quickly learned was that these “phishing” thieves must think I am really dumb.

Since the first month I opened my store, I have been getting phishing emails. Lately, the number I get has increased to as many as 5-6 every single day.

These thieves must be making money on the scam. It must be working, and there must be some people out there that are falling for this. Otherwise, why would they keep doing?

I get not just “look alike” but copies of email forms from these people that are identical to the legitimate forms from eBay’s new email system. To be honest with you, I cannot tell them apart and do not even try. I just delete them. I don’t read any of them. I don’t even click on them beyond what it takes to delete them.

One of scams they run is sending an email saying they have bought one of my prints. They claim that they have paid for it but that I have failed to deliver it to them. And there’s the “Respond Now” button right where it should be. The trouble is it does not go to the legitimate eBay site. It goes to a phony site that these thieves have set up. If I were to click on it and log in, they would get my ID and Password which would give them full access to my account. To compound this, they are using the same information on their PayPal account and who knows how many other sites.

Same thing goes for PayPal.

I have had a PayPal account that goes back a year or so before eBay bought them out. To this day I have never opened an email form PayPal.

There is a simple solution to what is becoming a growing problem – don’t do it! Don’t fall for it!!

If these people want to contact you, they will do so from inside you account. Incidentally, PayPal is a bank, and like any bank account you have to track the transactions, check your balances, deposits, and debits… “Balance your check book” every month. I do this, and to this day I have not found one penny unaccounted for in a legitimate fashion. Although I do have some doubts about the three drivers I bought on eBay that still can’t find the fairway on Saturday.

Keep in mind, it doesn’t take a genius to set-up (steal) someone else’s page lay-out. And anyone can attach any URL address to any form or set of words and letters.

Just because it says doesn’t make so.


A method of identity theft carried out through the creation of a website that seems to represent a legitimate company. The visitors to the site, thinking they are buying something from a real business, submit their personal information to the site. The criminals then use the personal information for their own purposes, or sell the information to other criminal parties.

Investopedia Commentary

A classic example of phishing is an identity thief setting up a website that looks like it belongs to a major bank. Then, that thief sends out many emails that claim to be from the major bank and request the email recipients to input their personal banking information (such as their PIN) into the website so the bank may update their records. Once the scammer gets a hold of the needed personal information, they attempt to access the victim’s bank account.