I must receive dozens of fake phishing scam e-mails a week, from spammers who think I'm dumb enough to log in to their fraudulent Web sites to enter my login and password, whether for eBay or PayPal, Amazon or Wells Fargo. I even get junk e-mail asking me to update my information for banks I've never had anything to do with, including Bank of America, Washington Mutual, and others. That's why when I received a note from eBay on July 31st saying my account had been compromised and locked down, I deleted it. Obviously spam.
So last night, I tried to log in to eBay and it didn't work. And it wasn't an issue with my memory. I've used the same login/password combination on eBay since 1998, and I was sure I had it right.
I hit the "Forgot Password" button, and eBay asked me to get two of three things right, my mother's maiden name, my zipcode, and my primary phone number. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. Mother's maiden name I got right away, but if you keep in mind I registered my eBay account almost 10 years ago, I've moved a few times since, from my shared apartment in Berkeley to Belmont, Palo Alto and now, here in Sunnyvale. So I had to try a few zip code combinations, not to mention phone numbers. Those changed too.
Eventually, I figured it out, and luckily, the e-mail I had on file at eBay was current, or that would be yet another mess. Now back in eBay, I had a note that said "It appears the password for your eBay account may have recently become compromised. As a result of this, we have reset your password and secret question." That's why I had been locked out. But I didn't see any odd bidding, so I have no idea what triggered the issue.
Now, I have a new password. And now, unfortunately, this just may make me look at the phishing e-mail scams as if they might actually be real, and that's not an improvement. Although I have the utmost respect for Web leaders like eBay, Paypal and Amazon, I have to imagine the fraud business dramatically impacts their ability to do e-mail marketing and customer service, and that must be incredibly frustrating.