The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

2 August 2006

Feedback loopy

I got my 136 feedback points on eBay the old-fashioned way: I won auctions (from a few cents to $900), I paid up promptly, and I was acknowledged to have done same by a variety of sellers. (I've never sold anything on eBay.)

Apparently this practice isn't quite fast enough for some people:

Scammers have turned to automated bots to create eBay accounts with a positive feedback record, reports security vendor Fortinet.

Online criminals use the automated scripts or bots to create vast collections of user accounts with positive feedback records. Those accounts can then be used to attract buyers by offering high value items that are never delivered after the bot-master criminals have received payments.

I can just imagine some wanker banging his nonexistent chest and proclaiming "I AM THE BOT MASTER!"

The bogus accounts typically sell virtual items such as wallpapers and e-books through a "buy it now" auction for one cent and no shipping costs. Those items are then bought by another fraudulent eBay account, all in an automated fashion.

Further indicating a level of automation, each buyer is leaving identical comments for each transaction.

Says security vendor Fortinet:

"Most [of the sellers'] user names are made of six to eight random letters and bear around 15 evaluations. Having a look at these profiles reveals that they’ve bought roughly the same items — all for one cent."

After two hundred or so auctions and no problems at all, I'm not going to abandon eBay. But I suppose I need to turn the Alert Level up past Bert.

(Via The Consumerist.)

Posted at 11:01 AM to Dyssynergy