- You have received an email message from eBay (possibly a demanding one or one about an eBay purchase or sale you’ve “apparently” made) and yet you’re not even an eBay member.
- You are an eBay member but have received an email message whose purpose you don’t fully understand or whose contents you dispute.
- You are an eBay member and you don’t wish to receive messages from eBay in your mailbox, regardless of their contents.
Each of these questions has a slightly different answer.
But I’m Not Even an eBay Member!If you’ve received an email message claiming to be from eBay, yet you’re not even an eBay member, it’s likely because the message is a fraudulent one and was not actually sent by eBay.
Because eBay is a large, well-known website with hundreds of millions of members, and because eBay collects a minimal amount of personal information from its members, criminals often want to obtain access to eBay member accounts, for a variety of unkind reasons—from identity theft to money and stolen goods laundering to other things. In order to gain access to member accounts, these criminals forge email messages—they create messages that appear to be from eBay (and that even list eBay as the “From:” in your email program) and send them to virtually everyone they can find on the Internet. (Yes, this is technically possible. In fact, it’s quite easy to forge a “From:” in email on the Internet, just as it is easy to list a false return address on real mail.)
The aim of such criminals is to get actual eBay members to click on links in such messages that lead to fake eBay websites, where these actual eBay members will enter their eBay member ID and password. The criminals, now having this information, then go to the real eBay website and use it to access the members’ accounts.
This type of crime is called phishing or spoofing and is one of the most common types of crime on the Internet.
When you receive such a message from an Internet criminal (a message appearing to be from eBay, even though you’re not an eBay member), it is simply because the criminal has found your email address somewhere or other on the Internet—it’s very easy to find yourself on mailing lists of all kinds that are bought and sold all the time—and has sent you the phish or spoof email on the off chance that you might be an eBay member, and thus they might be able to trick you through this email into providing your membership information to them.
If you are not an eBay member and receive this type of message, therefore, you should not be worried and need to carry out no action whatsoever, since the message did not come from eBay and can be safely ignored.
I’m a Member But I Don’t Understand!If you are an eBay member but you don’t understand why you have received a given message or you’re upset about its contents, first—before you do anything else—read about phishes and spoofs to be sure that what you have received isn’t the same type of false email message described above.
If you are not sure whether the message you have received is legitimate or not, or you believe that it’s legitimate and want to communicate with eBay about it, contact eBay with your concern before taking any other action in response to the message.
Be especially wary of email messages that appear to be from eBay but that demand immediate action under threat of negative consequences of any kind, as such messages are almost always frauds and not actually from eBay in the first place.
But I Don’t Want eBay Notices in Email!If you’ve received an email message from eBay and you understand and accept its contents, but simply don’t want to receive email messages from eBay or want to receive them in another way, there may or may not be any recourse for you.
You can change your notification preferences to have eBay IM or SMS you in some cases, but you cannot at the same time stop all mail from eBay. The requirement that eBay be able to send you communication at a valid email address is one of the terms and conditions of eBay membership.
If you absolutely, categorically no longer wish to receive email messages from eBay no matter what you have to do to accomplish such a state of affairs, you may want to consider closing your eBay account.