Your Non-existent eBay Account
Mickey, What you have described is called phishing. Spammers --
actually scammers -- send out these bogus notices all over the place,
pretending to be from eBay or a bank like Chase or any other you can
think of. Phishers are simply fishing to get personal information from
the unwary which they can use to defraud them.
It is easy to set up a bogus web page that looks exactly like a respected
institution's web page by using the web browser to cut-and-paste the
HTML code that underlies the real web page. Then a couple of crucial
things are changed, like the link back to the company so that instead
the link takes the victim to the scammer's personal site or email.
The moral of this is: when you get a request from a company you _do_
do business with, never click on any link provided in the request, but
use your web browser to go independently and directly to what you know is
the company's web site.
My question is: how can any person who has had a computer and Internet
link for more than 5 minutes pay any attention to this stuff or to any
email that says "Britney Spears prefers Rolex?!"
Have you been contacted by any Nigerian citizen lately offering to
split 63 million U.S. dollars with you? The March 2005 Reader's Digest
reports the story of Don Holton, a Boise, Idaho, musician who bit on
this hoary old scam and lost $5,400 plus the cost of a trip to Africa.
From his picture he looks reasonably intelligent.
Matthew Caulfield (Irondequoit, N.Y.)