March 24, 2010

What a REAL Inquiry Looks Like

Buona sera. I've been showing you scams and such to give you a warning, and to expose the losers that are doing it. Now I've decided to show you what a real one looks like.

Naturally, I'll delete all of the pertinent information. My changes will be in red, the rest will be what the company sent me. In this case, I got an e-mail from one of those that gets impersonated quite a bit, eBay. Remember, this is a real letter.

Hello **My Name** (Valid account name),------------------------------------------------------------------------------------eBay sent this message to **My Name** (Valid account name).  Your registered name is included to show this message originated from eBay. Learn more: is a courtesy reminder that the following credit/debit card on file for your eBay account will soon expire:EBay Account ID:  #####Card:  MSC XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-#### [Yes, they did give the real four digits]Expiration Date:  [Real date]Date Reminder Issued:  032410In order to receive uninterrupted service, please update this information.To update your credit/debit card information:1. Go to the eBay Home page.2. Click My eBay at the top of the page, and sign in with your eBay User ID and password.3. Click the "Seller Account" link (beneath My Account in the left navigation menu).4. Follow the instructions for updating your payment method.  Thank you for using eBay.Regards,eBay, Inc.  Learn More to protect yourself from spoof (fake) emails at: [I've used this link in articles before, it's worth clicking on.]eBay sent this email to you at [My real address that I use to access the account] about your account registered on will periodically send you required emails about the site and your transactions.Visit our Privacy Policy at and User Agreement at if you have any questions.Copyright © 2010 eBay, Inc. All Rights Reserved.Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.eBay and the eBay logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of eBay, Inc.eBay Inc. is located at 2145 Hamilton Avenue, San Jose, CA 95125
Reference #: *****.***.*
There are several key differences in this letter that make it stand out from the evil nasty fake stuff:
1. They used the name that I gave them 
2. It's my credit card's last four digits
3. It was sent to the correct e-mail account
4. Most importantly, it does not say "click here". Instead, it tells me to go to their main site and log in to take care of business.
One area of suspicion for me is that it makes comments about the eBay logo, but there are no images in the letter. No matter, it was not sent in HTML, but in text-only format.
I should point out that fakers can be convincing, using a company logo and copying text from a legitimate page and pasting it on the fake page. So, watch out for that.
After showing you fake stuff, it's nice to show what a real notice looks like, and the key differences.
One thing I must add, though. Despite my efforts and the efforts of my associates in the organization, New York's E-Z Pass has e-mail notifications that look just like scammers. "To access your account, click here", no freakin' way! I'll go to the main login and take care of business instead of following a link. It's probably legitimate, but I won't take the chance.
And that is a good, safe practice at any time: Just go to the main site instead of clicking on a link, capice?


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