I Should Know Better

I sold my old PowerBook on eBay, and I was so paranoid about getting shafted that I apparently turned off all higher brain functioning.

Somebody’s running a scam where they send spam messages to eBay sellers. It’s done as a question from another eBay user, so it’s within the eBay messaging system with all the proper headers and everything. It asks something like “Is this the same item being sold at some url?” When you follow the link, it goes to a spoof site where they get your information, and then they use your eBay account to send more messages to other sellers.

Now, who can spot from that description exactly where Chuck is a moron? If you said, “it’s when you follow the link,” you’re absolutely right. I’ve really got no excuse, other than that I was watching the auction every thirty minutes and stressing out over the fact that there’d been no activity on it. It’s not even clickable in the message; I had to aggressively copy the address out of the message, then re-enter it in the browser.

And if you were to come up to me now and say, “Chuck, never follow hyperlinks in messages from people you don’t know,” I’d say, “Well of course not. Everybody knows that!” And if you added, “Especially if the link is just a numeric IP address,” I’d respond, “What do you think I am, an idiot?”

So now, someone is sending dozens of other users messages disguised as me, and I’m getting all the bewildered responses. And plenty of those responses start with, “I followed the link but don’t know what you’re talking about.” And this is one of the rare cases where seeing that other people have made the same mistake I did, doesn’t make me feel any better.

Now I’ve just got to wait and see if this whole transaction goes down with no major incident, responding to all the spam e-mail in the meantime. And then delete the account and never, ever use eBay again. I get the impression it’d be easier just to walk around Union Square with the computer in hand, yelling, “Anybody want to buy this? I’ll take personal checks or IOUs.”