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Starlyte

EBay thief reveals tricks of the trade

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‘Kenneth’ and friends claim $2 million stolen from Net users

Sept. 24 — He contacted me to brag, this e-mailer named Kenneth. Said he had seen a story I’d done called “True confessions of an eBay criminal,” about a 15-year old who managed to steal a few thousand dollars online. And Kenneth was offended. “He’s an insult to each and every one of us scam artists,” Kenneth wrote. “I could tell you stories.” And so he did. Kenneth claims he’s spent the past two years as one of eBay’s most notorious scammers. Here’s how he does it.

MANY OF KENNETH’S claims cannot be verified — such as his claim that he and his four friends have bilked about $2 million from eBay members in the past two years. But some of his story checks out, and we decided to publish it as an educational tool for eBay users.

EBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove confirmed that “Kenneth” — not his real name — is suspected of hijacking many eBay member accounts, and that law enforcement authorities have been contacted to investigate him.

To prove his skill, Kenneth opened up one of his e-mail accounts to me, an account called “BestbuyPlasma.” In there were dozens of responses from eBay members who had been lured out of a normal auction for a plasma television. Victims contacted by MSNBC.com confirmed that the e-mails were authentic.

Two years ago, when he was 20, Kenneth picked up the trade by watching a friend cheat a few eBay users. Since then, he and his associates have perfected the techniques. They have coffee together every morning to discuss their take from the night before, he said.

Kenneth calls his victims “my customers,” and the scam they fall for is relatively straightforward. It starts with a “phisher” e-mail to perhaps 1,000 eBay users, telling them their accounts will be closed unless they supply their user name and password. Sometimes, as many as 200 people reply, he said.

Armed with access to these eBay accounts, Kenneth impersonates a long-time eBay user with ample positive feedback, and he approaches other eBay users actively engaged in an auction. Via e-mail, he tells them he can offer a better deal. When they bite, he slowly lures them down a patch which eventually leads to a fake escrow Web page. Under the false security of an escrow service, victims wire money to Kenneth, and he disappears with their cash.

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As if! I'd never fall for the "Give me your password and username" details trick.

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i can belive that there are a number of people who know no better would give their user names an passwords. But $2 Million i think is a bit of an blag

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