Back in April of 2008 I put a 20GB iPod on eBay and learned a few things about PayPal scams and phishing (attempting to get personal information by making a page look legitimate when it is not). Someone tried getting me to ship iPod before I had payment, and I refused.
Fast forward to November and Macworld published an article about avoiding these phishing scams by using OpenDNS to double check websites you visit. I liked what the article had to say, and wanted to get my name in the magazine, so I wrote a letter suggesting that users check that emails use your actual name rather than a public screen name. In the February 2009 issue, which I just opened today, I read through the letters and there I was!
The letter is shown at the right, and reprinted below.
Using OpenDNS to avoid phishing scams is a great start, and the commonsense practices you listed certainly help. Here’s another trick: all email correspondence with sites like eBay and Paypal includes your real name in the body of the message. If you see a message purporting to be from one of these sites that instead uses your user name on the site, chances are the sender just wants your personal information.
Wow, I compared that with what I had written originally and either I didn’t say exactly what they wanted or me don’t speak good Engrish.