Whenever I heard of scams, I used to think of such incidents as stories and that it wouldnt affect me. Yesterday, I got an email from ebay which said that I had sold a bunch of golf clubs to someone at a price of $429.00 and that I had to ship the item. I havent even logged onto ebay for over 8 months. So, I immediately rushed into looking at my account. I found that there were around 15 items that showed up in my selling list and 1 item was sold already. I immediately changed my password for the account, reported the problem through ebay’s security center and cleaned up all the information I had in the account. While I was doing it, I found that the address and name on the account was of Sherry Vaughn (god knows who) and a maryland address. I tried to change the address and wasnt able to do so. Apparently, ebay gives some shoppers a shopping icon which enables them to market as high volume sellers or something like that. If you obtain an icon, you cant make changes to your address for 10 days.
While I was doing all the security measures, I also emailed the buyer telling him that it was a fraudulent transaction and that he needs to contact ebay asap if he doesnt want to lose his money. He mailed me back today morning saying that the money cleared off his bank account. Now, I was worried. Do you know that you cant get hold of an 1-800 number for ebay or amazon very easily? I searched all over the website and found that they have a chat-line using which you can get live chat assistance. I waited for 10 minutes for an agent to come online and she helped me with the situation. She cleaned up all the fees (commissions as part of selling the item). She also blocked my account. She said that this could have resulted because of some phishing mail that I might have responded to. As you are probably aware, there are emails posing themselves as paypal or ebay. If you logon, the perpetrators get your password and use it later to post some expensive items, which upon sale routes the money to one of their personal accounts or get the money in terms of a cashier cheque. Anyway, it was a scary experience. To be fair, the customer service representative from ebay was very helpful and informative.
Take aways… Keep changing your passwords to online accounts every 3-6 months. Dont enter your passwords by following a link from the mail or otherwise. If you have phishing enabled in google toolbar, it will alert you when you reach a page which is not where you intended to be. Dont even open emails from people that you dont know. And, just be aware of the risks and be cautious.