That Smell? Something Truly Phishy
E-mails claiming to be from eBay and PayPal are fraudster decoys. Stinks for your wallet
By Joan Caplin

(MONEY Magazine) – You may be wise to phishing scams, but that's only encouraging scamsters to create a better class of lure. Phishing is a way of wheedling personal information out of you via e-mail so that the sender can gut your credit and bank accounts. The number of new phishing e-mails is growing 36% a month, says Two particularly sneaky decoys purport to be from eBay or PayPal.

The company logos in the e-mails are indistinguishable from the real thing, and the subject lines are subtly mundane: "eBay User Verification" or "PayPal Confirm." One version, which reads "Quarterly Statement Notice," says PayPal is required by law to notify you that your account statement is available. Click on the look-alike hyperlink, and you're sent to a fake site that asks for your password. Let the thievery begin. Some versions ask twice for your "verification" info; the first entry takes you to the fake site, the second to the genuine article.

Never reveal personal data within an e-mail or a hyperlink. Go directly to the website instead. Send any phishy e-mails to or —JOAN CAPLIN