Its a common internet fraud crime and internet users are the target of Spoof email hoax scams and fake or forged web pages. Click to go to home page.

See images
of the latest
Spoof Email Hoax
reported to us

An introduction
to Spoof Email Hoax scams

What is a
Spoof Email

How do I
recognise a
Spoof Email

Why do
people send
spoof email

I've received
a Spoof Email
Hoax what
should I do?

I've fallen victim
to a Spoof Email
Hoax Scam, what
should I do?

Take steps to
a victim of a
Spoof Email
Hoax Scam

Check out an
eBay seller
before buying

Contact eBay:
eBay Inc.,
2145 Hamilton Ave
San Jose
CA 95125
408 376 7400
408 558 7400
fax 408 376 7401
fax 408 558 7494
UK fax
020 8605 3001

Contact Paypal:
303 Bryant St
Mountain View
CA 94041
650 864 8000
fax 650 864 8001

1840 Embarcadero Rd
Palo Alto
CA 94303
650 251 1100




Online Identity Theft

Spoof Email Hoax scams and Fake Web Pages or Sites

by Mat Bright
27th June 2003 (last updated 23rd February 2004)

Part Eight



To avoid becoming the victim of an already hijacked ID on eBay...

Verify that the seller is genuine

As a registered user with eBay, you've found something that you want to bid on, but how can you be sure of how genuine the seller is? You don't want to be conned out of your money now do you?

How long have they been dealing on eBay?

Everyone has to start somewhere on eBay, and while we should not shun 'newbies' extra caution should be exercised.

The feedback page of every user will have an ID History link which takes us to a page detailing when the user joined eBay and details of any ID name changes.

If they are new then consider contacting them by using the ask the seller a question link on the item page and ask them for a contact telephone number to discuss the item further (any user who will not give you a telephone contact number should be avoided).

If there has been a change in the user name, then use the ask a seller a question facility and ask them for a contact telephone number to discuss the item further (again, avoid anyone who will not give you a telephone contact).

If you bid and win the item, only pay by using a credit card or Paypal (Paypal offers a secure method of making credit and debit card payments online, join up by clicking here). By using either of those payment methods; if you do not get the goods or there is a problem with the goods, you can raise a query and get your money back. If the new user demands payment any other way - such as cash - understand that you may have no way of recouping your payment.

Let's take a look at their feedback...

The feedback system is there to let us know how other users have rated their dealings with this user in terms of Product, Delivery, Communication and Description. There are three forms of feedback, Positive, Negative and Neutral.

What to look for:

The ratio of postive to negative feedback is an issue as is the frequence of any negative or feedback. Generally speaking a minimum of 97% postive feedback of their feedback total is acceptable and may not lead us to look further. However, this is not the case when a quantity of negative and/or neutral feedback has been left against more recent transactions. If for instance the user had a feedback rating of 100, but there were 3 negatives left in the last month, we should investigate further, it may well be that their ID has been taken over by a fraudster.

If there is a quantity of negative/neutral feedback that gives you concern, then take a look at the relevant entries on their feedback page. Consider the reasons given by other users. Also, take a look at the feedback rating of the users that have left negative/neutral feedback, there are those who use the feedback system inappropriately, such as those who leave retaliatory feedback (this is a frequent problem) and those who have a terrible feedback record and feel that they have nothing to lose. You should take all things into consideration, and if you have any concerns, contact the seller using the ask seller a question link on the item page and request further contact information (in eBay unfortunately, you can only request a user's full contact information after winning their auction, but it does not prevent you from asking before bidding).

Also, check for a period of inactivity (many account hijacking cases occur on accounts that have been inactive for a month or more), again make further enquiries until you are happy that the seller is genuine.

Use a software tool...

A software tool, such as Hammertap's Bay Check Pro, is an inexpensive and essential utility to aid you in reviewing a user's feedback. It enables you to easily view all feedback, and also to filter out and view negative and neutral feedback alone, which is something that is not available on eBay itself. Hammertap also produce deep analysis software for a more detailed view of a user's history.

What do they normally sell?

We've talked about how fraudsters can take over someone's eBay account to sell items, accept payments, but not send the goods. The goods involved in this are usually high value items, and if they are not what the seller usually sells, you have good reason to be concerned.

We can view previous items sold by that user by using the advanced search facility in eBay, or by using the previously mentioned Hammertap Bay Check Pro.

Is the item properly described?

Descriptions are the most important part of any item for sale on eBay and should indicate a full description of the item and its uses as well as its condition and its history or details of previous ownership and use (unless it is brand new and factory sealed). If there is anything lacking in the description, use the ask the seller a question link on the item page and ask for further detailed information and/or a contact telephone number. Any user who will not give you a telephone contact number should be avoided.


Reports of online auction fraud are prolific around the internet, if you want to avoid becoming another statistic, you need to take care with the emails that you receive AND with whom and how you deal on the internet.

If at any time you feel that you may have received a spoof email, follow our recommendations in Part 5. Or if you've fallen victim, then please follow our recommendations in Part 6.

go to previous go to Part One


Its a common internet fraud crime and internet users are the target of Spoof email hoax scams and fake or forged web pages.
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