From Pine View Farm

“Give Him Letter No. 45” 2

Having worked in a complaint department, I have nothing against using standard replies to common complaints. There really are only so many ways to say that “We’re sorry that the train was [late, broken, crowded, going north instead of south–it was awfully hard not to send the “why didn’t you listen to the announcements bozo?” letter to those folks].”

The form letter, though, should match the letter to which it responds. Don’t send the broken air conditioning letter to the I-didn’t-like-the-mustard guy.

So when I notify eBay of a phishing attempt with the subject line, “phishing attempt,” they should respond with something more on point than this:

Thanks for forwarding the suspicious message you received. The email you reported did not come from PayPal or eBay. It was a fake, often called a “spoof” or “phishing” email. (That’s “phishing,” as in “fishing” for personal information.) Our security teams are working to disable any websites it links to.

I knew it was a phishing attempt, for Pete’s sake. That’s why I sent it to you. A simple “thanks for your report” would have been fine. Actually, nothing would have been fine. But a tutorial in elementary how-to-spot-a-phishing-attempt was a bit–er–under the top.

(Ebay’s lame automated responses to the contrary, it’s a good idea to forward such stuff to them at They do compile the reports and try to get the sources shut down.)



  1. Karen

    March 13, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    I wish I had known this about a year & a half ago. I had to set up an account on PayPal for Chris, & when I did it, it was only to put money into someone else’s account. So I didn’t put in my account information.

    Next day, he gets an email, supposedly from PayPal, saying I “neglected” to put in my account # & how it’s accessed.

    It was deleted.

  2. Frank

    March 13, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    You did good.