Friday, January 11, 2008

eBay confusion

I returned from traveling for almost a to find my email inbox has a handful of mysterious messages supposedly from an eBay seller, encouraging me to keep bidding if I was still interested in an item. This surprised me, for I do not have an eBay account and have never used that website!

The item being sold was this camera.

The emails I received were not form letters produced automatically by the eBay system (as a bid is out-bid) but were friendly, slightly chatty, and once mentioned there were actually two such cameras if that was of interest. However, they were clearly part of a scam, since they each had a different reply address, and one did an obviously fake job at pretending to be from the eBay system.

There is indeed a real eBay member with the name David Van Slyke who was bidding on that camera. If this eBay account is fake and part of a scam it part of a quite elaborate scheme, for that would mean the person behind the scam created a number of fake reviews dating back to 2005, for no reason other than to create trouble two and a half years later!

I contacted eBay help and was told that my email address is not associated with any eBay account. Perhaps it was a few days ago, but if so it was not removed after the first messages were sent, so if I were home to check my email and investigate promptly the fake nature of the account would have been caught.

As odd as the alternative is, it seems to me more likely that a third party took from a legitimate eBay sale my first and last name, from these took a lucky guess at my gmail address (which resembles my name) and wrote emails to it from a number of addresses for no apparent reason other than to confirm if that gmail address existed and cause confusion.

Strange! It's not like any kind of spam I have received before.

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