Ebay or Not Ebay?

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Steve Nestor logged onto ebay for the first time this past Christmas shopping season to buy a gift for a friend. Some time later, he received an e-mail featuring the company's logo.

“It stated they were updating their computer information, and that I had to go in and verify all the information I had given them to set up the account. I clicked on, and it took me to a web page that looked like ebay, and it had the ebay logo,” says Nestor.

He didn't suspect anything, until, while making another purchase, his debit card was refused. After checking with his bank, he received startling news.

“They told me all of the charges came from the Royal Bank of St. Laurent, in British Columbia, Canada. The security division asked me if I had been to Canada in the past week, and I said no,” Nestor says.

It turns out the e-mail Nestor received wasn't at all from ebay, but from what's called "spoof mail". Ebay has warned its clients it's not an uncommon practice. To guard against getting fraudulent messages, ebay says to make sure it has the web address sign in.ebay.com.

Also, make sure you use a secure server before submitting any personal information such as credit card numbers.

Finally, ebay says it will never ask for an account password, credit card numbers or any other personal information in an e-mail.

Nestor's bank was able to close his debit card account before any financial damage was done. From now on, he plans to be more careful.

“If I absolutely don't know who the people are, I'm just going to delete the e-mail and move on,” Nestor says.

You can learn more about avoiding being scammed on ebay by logging on to "ebay.com", and clicking onto the "help" section.