"Please review your billing agreement" - Paypal does it better

This morning I received one of the many impressive scams doing the rounds. I might have fallen for it save that two copies, almost but not quite identical, arrived a few minutes apart. I looked up the Action Fraud website for reporting spam and went through the routine to report one of them. I was asked me to forward the e-mail to spoof@paypal.co.uk (the spanners were impersonating Paypal on this occasion). I forwarded the other Paypal as well, but did not bother to report a second time to Action Fraud because of the effort involved.

Shortly later I was pleased to receive two nicely worked automated responses from Paypal:


—–Original Message—–
From: spoof@paypal.co.uk [mailto:spoof@paypal.co.uk]
Sent: 13 February 2012 nn:nn
To: [my name] – [ISP Name]
Subject: RE: FW: Please review your billing agreement. ([pretentious number])

Hello [my name] – [ISP name],

Thanks for forwarding that suspicious-looking email. You’re right – it was a phishing attempt, and we’re working on stopping the fraud. By reporting the problem, you’ve made a difference!

Identity thieves try to trick you into revealing your password or other personal information through phishing emails and fake websites. To learn more about online safety, click “Security Center” on any PayPal webpage.

Every email counts. When you forward suspicious-looking emails to spoof@paypal.com, you help keep yourself and others safe from identity theft.

Your account security is very important to us, so we appreciate your extra effort.




I would be more impressed by other Internet Services if they had similarly easy reporting and acknowledgment routines. I know my e-mails probably just went into counting routines but the feeling that they might go into an analytic engine for find distribution channels and/or origin made my morning.

I should perhaps add that I recently received a similar e-mails from two major security vendors asking me to click on links to join their advisory panels, alias complete marketing questionnaires. I forwarded them to contacts in the organisations concerned, because I could find no routines for checking whether they were was genuine, only to be told that they were !!! 

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I once sent a genuine PayPal message to spoof@paypal.com.au and got that same boilerplate message in return. Try it and see if you too don’t get the same response; after all if you send anything to spoof@paypal then it must be a spoof, right? …

“When Do We Start Calling eBay A Payments Company?”


A picture is worth a thousand words, so they say. This linked “Business Insider” article contains a graph of eBay revenues since 2003. It shows, quite starkly, how—notwithstanding eBay’s “reductions” [sic] in fees—eBay’s Marketplace revenue has been stagnant since 2008, about the time that the headless turkey from Bain & Co, John Donahoe, got hold of the tiller and started his “destructive renovations”. Likewise, eBay’s share price has moved little in the same period. Ergo the eBay Marketplace has effectively been in decline since 2008.

It should be obvious, even to the simplest of analysts, that as time passes, the Amazon River flows ever more strongly, whereas the eBay Marketplace now consists of little more than a chain of stagnant ponds covered in slimy green algae—and isn’t that a couple of rusting Chinese-made shopping trolleys that I can see dumped therein?

The graph also shows the eBay-underpinning increases in revenue that eBay has received from PreyPal during the same period, that is, from roughly when the “eBafia Don” effectively mandated PreyPal’s use on the eBay Marketplace. Some analysts therefore think that eBay’s future lays in PreyPal.

Well, if anyone thinks that the retail banks are going to let middlemen—such as the parasitic, clunky, “merchant of sorts”, PreyPal—all of whom, after all, do no more than ride, precariously, on the back of those same banks’ own payments processing systems—continue to nibble away at one of the banks’ principal areas of business for any length of time, all I can say is, dream on …

PreyPal, in particular, is little more than a clumsy, fraud-enabling middleman, the use of which also nullifies the statutory protections that, in many countries, would otherwise be available to consumers paying directly via a real bank’s credit card. And if you think that merchants like PreyPal, then dream on …

Then there is PreyPal’s current testing of “mobile payments” at POS in Home Depot stores. Are people actually leaving their funds “on deposit” with this clunky, unlicensed, prudentially unregulated, PayPal “bank”, that is itself not even licensed to provide credit? Otherwise, how are the funds for such mobile payments being sourced by PreyPal from the payer’s real banking account in a way that the B&M merchant can be sure of ultimately getting paid by PreyPal? Not with the standard non-guarantee of payment that PreyPal serves up to its online merchants, I hope.

And, unfortunately for eBay’s chief headless turkey, Visa’s professional online offering “V.me”, when it is up and running later this year, will undoubtedly put paid to whatever success that the clunky, unscrupulous PreyPal has had with professional online merchants outside of its mandated use on the eBay Marketplace. But the even greater advantage of Visa’s V.me will be its ability to enable online payments via a retail bank’s “debit” card.

Scott Thompson saw the iceberg ahead and abandoned ship early; John Donahoe remains delusional, that fact confirmed by the many reported sightings of him waving his mobile phone about (and mumbling about UFO sightings over San Jose).

“How secure is PayPal for sellers?”—UK “Guardian”


And an interesting follow up to this UK "Guardian" article at:


“Vendor Claims eBay Plays Dirty” [Who would have believed it?]


“Seller Files Suit Against eBay” [eBay’s “Featured Plus” scam]


“New Developments in PayPal Class Action Lawsuit over Payment Holds”


“A PayPal Christmas” [cartoon video]


“PayPal: The Horror Stories” [What, more?]


“Does Visa Have The PayPal-Killing Card In Its Wallet?” [Yes!]


“Visa Launching PayPal-Like V.me Service Next Year” [2012]


Scott Thompson abandons the struggling eBay for the struggling Yahoo


PayPal claims PayPal is not a debit card or payment network!


Then, if all that’s not enough to inform you of the utter contempt that a great many users feel for PreyPal and eBay, try Googling “PayPal sucks” and you will find about ten million more reasons. There’s more involved in judging the future of a corporation than simply its published financials, and this applies especially to eBay/PayPal, who have become the two most despised commercial entities on the planet—even more despised than "the banks", and that has taken some doing ...

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

I once sent a genuine PayPal message to spoof@paypal.com.au and got that same boilerplate message in return. Try it and see if you too don’t get the same response; after all if you send anything to spoof@paypal then it must be a spoof, right? …