Feeds

eBay scamming automation primed for fraud

Bots it all about, Alfie?

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Fraudsters are starting to use automated bots in a bid to establish a bogus eBay reputation that will later allow them to dupe gullible punters through bogus auctions.

Once upon a time, one of the easiest ways to make an illicit buck on the net was to set up an auction for a non-existent item, pocket the money a buyer sends, and disappear. These days such a scam can only hope to reel in potential marks if the account used has a high positive-feedback rate.

As well as stealing accounts, con merchants have begun to use other techniques to obtain accounts that look pukka to the casual observer, according to security appliance firm Fortinet. By automating the process of creating an account with an ostensibly good rep, crooks can avoid the tedious business of building up a decent profile before looking to cash in with a scam auction.

The "eBay scamming automation" begins with the (probably automatic) creation of randomly named, fake user accounts. These fake users, powered by automated web spider software, search eBay for extremely low value ($0.01) "buy it now" items, such as eBook or wallpapers, and place a purchase.

As Fortinet points out, most one-cent-plus-no-delivery-cost sellers automate the whole transaction: should someone buy their eBooks, a script emails it automatically to the buyer, and leaves a standard feedback comment on the buyer's profile. The fake user then automatically responds with a standard feedback comment on the seller's profile.

So software bots talk to software bots, and scammers can build up multiple (impressive looking) fake accounts.

"Sellers are making cash without doing anything, and scammers owning the fake accounts are building positive feedback, again, while sleeping, watching porn, or chatting on IRC - and only for a fistful of bucks," as Fortinet puts it. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.