Some time ago, the media started talking about a little internet thing called  "phishing".  Another one of these showed up in my email box just recently that was very cleverly conceived and I almost bit on it. I had gotten used to the HTML emails that claimed to be from banks, but this one appeared to be in plain text and didn't trigger my suspicions ... till I started to look a little further.

If you get this email or anything like it, trash it immediately. Do not click the link in the email.

Here's how it starts out:

Subject: eBay Fraud Mediation Request

***Urgent Safeharbor Department Notice***

eBay Fraud Mediation Request
Date: 01 May 2005

You have recieved this email because you or someone had used your account to make fake bids at eBay. For security purposes, we are required to open an investigation into this matter.

Sounds pretty ominous, huh? The email goes on to get even more scary. I just about clicked the link, but something warned me to look a little closer before I did. Here's what I noticed: 

  • The email address to which this message was sent was not an address I had ever used on eBay.

  • When I held my mouse over the link, the displayed URL was not the one shown in the message. It wasn't an eBay site at all.

That's all I needed to know. This message did not come from EBay and someone was "phishing" for my account information.

Moral ... STAY ALERT. There's always another sleaze-bag out there trying to capture your identity and separate you from your money. Watch for the warning signs.

  1. No legitimate company would ever send you an email and ask you to enter your sensitive information. If you receive an email (even if it looks like it came from a company that you do business with) that requests sensitive information (user names, passwords, personal & financial information), start off by assuming it is fraudulent.

  2. Just because an email comes from a company you actually do business with, do not assume that it is actually that company that is sending the email. Email addresses are easy to spoof.

  3. Don't click links in emails that you suspect may be a scam. Even if a link looks like it goes to the legitimate company, clicking the link may actually send you elsewhere.

  4. If in doubt, contact the company you have an account with, using the contact information you have for that company. Do NOT reply to the suspicious email or click links.

Here's the advice your mother likely told you once upon a time and it still holds

If it smells bad, it probably is bad.

Be careful. Be suspicious. And don't fall victim to these predators.

This is serious stuff.  Pay Attention


The following video although a tad old explains some of the basics in
a fun and informative manner.  Click the play button and enjoy.
It is 100% valid to this very day