Bad Grammar Reveals Crooks

Like most of you, I receive many fake emails from people spoofing Ebay and Paypal, asking for account information, passwords, credit card numbers, and more. Their art, complete with site logos and characteristic fonts, is quite good – good enough to fool many users. And so is their url spoofing, which usually has or somewhere in it. Sometimes, they’ll even create a link that appears to end in – and only if you copy the link beneath it and paste it into a browser, you can see it goes somewhere else.

But the dead giveaway on almost any of these fraudulent emails is not the painstakingly simulated appearance or the sophisticated coding, but the grammar! That’s right, these people just aren’t competent in the English language. Unlike the copywriters at places like Paypal and Ebay (usually former tech journalists) these crooks don’t use proper tenses, have great trouble with agreement, and use diction that sounds like language in translation. Find the two dead giveaways in the email, below:

Dear eBay Member,                                                                   

We wish to inform you that for the next two days we shall upgrade our database servers in order to increase our efficiency in managing eBay users accounts and to secure the transactions.

To avoid any possible errors that might occur during this process we advise you to check if your account is active and the registration information are correct by clicking the following link:

http://[email protected]?&MfcISAPCommand=EnterConfirm&UsingSSL=1

Thank you very much for your cooperation!
Marry Kimmel,
eBay Billing Department team.