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Identity Theft.

It's a jungle out there on the Internet: Your online identity can be stolen.

Linn's Stamp News associate editor Rachel Supinger was sitting at her desk
one morning recently when she got a call: Was she really selling 15 laptop
computers on eBay?

"No, I've never sold anything like that," she told The Virtual Stamp Club.
Supinger writes about and collects stamps.

"I was very frightened at first, because I realized that they had not only
gotten into my eBay account but they had also gotten into my personal e-mail
account," she said. 

"It could have been much, much worse. They had access to any number of links
that could have damaged me financially"

-- she was using the same password for other online services -- 

"and also, because my name was included in the auction, it could have
damaged my professional reputation."

The crook likely wasn't planning to deliver the computers, sticking Supinger
and her customers for thousands of dollars.

"I was charged listing fees by eBay, and also my name, my real name, was
included in the auction listing," Supinger, a VSC member, said. "At the time
that I discovered the auction listing, the total amount involved was more
than $25,000."

Supinger had been trying to build up her reputation on eBay — that is,
increase her feedback rating.

"Fortunately, one of the people who bid on the auction checked out my
auction history and noticed that this type of listing wasn't like anything
that I had done before," she told The VSC.

The man looked Supinger up using Google, and called her at Linn's. Both he
and Supinger then contacted the other bidders in "her" Dutch auction (an
auction with more than one of the item available).

It took most of a week to straighten out her account. The hacker had not
only pirated her eBay ID, but also had re-directed her e-mail elsewhere, so
when the online auction service tried to give her a new password for her
account, it went to the hacker, not Supinger.

Her advice is to check your accounts regularly.

"If you are a frequent buyer and only an occasional seller, make sure you
keep an eye on your seller tab, and check for any unauthorized listings,"
she said. "Also, change your password frequently."

I'm Lloyd de Vries


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