It was a bright and sunny day on the 13th March and I was feeling quite happy with myself and decided to do something I’d be thinking about for some time.

I had been the proud owner of for a decade and from that had had countless fun whilst living in Australia, Canada and the UK. Often when people asked me for my email address they wouldn’t believe me when I told them. I think I missed out on some girl opportunities from time to time as they never bothered emailing as they believed I’d given them a fake address. Or maybe they just weren’t interested.

I even stuck the address on a t-shirt one weekend to see whether I’d get any hits come Monday. Or Tuesday. Maybe even Wednesday – but no luck. However, it was the sort of email address nobody ever, ever forgot and I did have my fair share of girls email whom I’d met. I should have maybe worn the t-shirt with on it in the photographs I used for dating profiles so that i’d never have had to buy subscriptions to the sites and girls could have contacted me for free. But I didn’t.

So now it brings me to the part of the story this is really all about; when I decided to put my email address up for auction on eBay. Well, I did just that on that lovely March day (13th). Things started out slowly and I hadn’t reached my reserve of ?100 in the first could of days. I sent an email to The Register to see whether they were interested in giving it some publicity but I didn’t get any response so i decided If I got even to ?100 I would be happy.

Well, come the last couple of days things got moving and I reached my ?100 and answered a few questions from other eBay members and got quite excited by it all.

People would probably say, “shit, you got over ?100 for something you never paid for, that’s a good return.”. I wouldn’t agree however – it’s been a bumpy 10 years with Hotmail what with the incessant junk deletion which I honestly can say has probably taken up at least a couple of days in my life. Honestly. Especially when I’ve been in foreign countries and I’m dealing with a slow connection. Some time ago I was regularly receiving 100+ junk emails a day. Spam become part of my life a long time ago. And I still don’t have a foot-long penis nor a university degree of any sort to show for it.

So the bidding stopped on 23rd March at ?102 and this is where it gets interesting. I sent off the winning bidder an email congratulating him/her on their new email address and said I would pass on details of my PayPal account soon.

I then decided to go into my Hotmail account and clear it out and send off one last email to everyone in my contacts to let them know that I had ‘moved on’ and would no longer use that address. Besides, I hardly ever used it anymore – it was and has always been a very good memory for me though. After entering my password into Hotmail I got a response saying that it was incorrect. I tried again and still no luck. Again and again until I got locked out.

At this stage I thought perhaps I’d entered it incorrectly as it was in fact a very tricky password and I only used it for my Hotmail account. I could have possibly gotten it wrong (too many nights out drinking). I decided to leave it and get back to it the next day.

Come the 24th and the probably hadn’t gotten any better so I decided to email the winning bidder and let them know the problem.

They soon replied saying that someone going by the eBay ID of aroma_justin of Birmingham UK had emailed them asking them if they’d like to buy MY email address they could have it for ?100. And, what’s more is that this eBay fraudster was now auctioning off my on eBay.

At least Birmingham wasn’t that far from my London address I could always head up there and claim it back if need be.

I checked out the eBay site and yes, amazingly it was all true. And what was funny is that a whole column of entries were now being sold on eBay as well which were imitating my original listing but selling different accounts. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery I suppose.

To cut a long story short I decided to set the balls in motion to retrieve what I believed to be rightfully mine, even if I hadn’t planned it to be for much longer. I emailed Hotmail and started researching the eBay ID that the fraudster was using.

Come this morning and no replies from eBay nor MSN I decided to take more action to regain my loving account.

I telephoned Thames Valley Police who told me the first port of call would be to send an email to, and abuse@ my ISP (or theirs). I was so surprised the police officer was so clued up. I thought it would take call after call before I spoke to someone who knew what phishing entailed.

What was frightening however was what little the Police could do even though I had the details of the culprits.

I emailed and stating my problems. I also created a new auction to warn other eBay users of this fraudster. This I set to go live straight away and for 7 days so that it would sit directly above the fraudster’s auction when viewed in eBay lsitings.

Not only had this fraudster obviously phished my account he could also have access to other accounts of mine so I contacted my ISP and my hosting companies to change all my passwords.

Once my new auction was live I messaged the fraudster via eBay’s secure messaging system. All my responses are via the eBay messenging system however the fraudster used a mish-mash of that and another email address.

The emails are below, mine in blue and the fraudster’s in green:



Well done on phishing my account. I have spoken with Thames
Valley Police and will speak with them again on Monday in

I have also taken the liberty to put another bid next to yours
which warns people about what you have done and what you are

When the police investigate you they will not only investigate
your online activities but any non-internet financial activities. I
hope for your sake you or anyone else you live with does not
partake in anything else which is illegal.

For my own records I have done a bit of researching myself and
it’s interesting what information someone can find out about a
person they don’t know.


Soon after I received a reply from the fraudster saying nothing more than ‘Ok’. About 10 minutes later I decided to check the eBay listings and low and behold they had now been taken down by the ‘owner’.

I decided to send a reply to their ‘Ok’ which read:


I have noticed now since your response of ‘ok’ that you have
stopped these two fraudulent auctions.

I now ask you to reply to this message with the new password to
my Hotmail account so that I can take back ownership.

Please remember that online fraud here in the UK is being
targetted by local police and not just by a fraud department. If
you don’t pass over my account then this will be taken further
and you will be visited by Staffordshire Police.


Can you please delete the auction you have created against me.


As soon as you pass me my details there will be no need for me
to have the auction live any longer. It wouldn’t make sense as it
isn’t pointing to any other auctions (yours aren’t live anymore)
but i don’t want to be in the situation where I need to pay to put
my counter-auction up again in case you decide to try and sell
my hotmail account again.

It’ll go down as soon as I receive my account.


They then decided not to use eBay and possibly created a new account which arrived with the name of Anonymous Lover which I retrieved their IP address from the email headers.


I would like you to end your listings, once that is done I will do what you have asked. You are taking this way too far, once you have done what I have asked you to I will do what you want.


I take it this is you as the IP address I received this from also
comes from Birmingham as does your ID on eBay.

I would prefer to reply via eBay seeing as you won’t return my

I don’t believe I am taking this too far. You have acted
fraudulently and this a serious offence to assume somebody
else’s identity. This is called identity theft. Police don’t react
too happily to this as it’ll cause them a lot of paperwork.

If you do not return my details I will call your ISP Blue Yonder

As I said, I will remove my auction as soon as you give me back
my Hotmail account.


***** (new password omitted and now changed) here you go


Using the password sent to me I was able to access my account again and I quickly changed the password and set a new question reminder. The culprit had deleted my email addresses however but hadn’t deleted my contacts. I decided to see whether I could get another response out of them.


Could you tell me how you got into the account so it won’t
happen again? I want to fix this.

And also, why did you do it? What made you do it? I can see you
have a good profile on eBay and it doesn’t seem like you have
done anything like this before. I feel I need an explanation.

I will then take it down.


This is where the sob-story appeared and they said they had nothing to do with it. He/she replied to my address.


to be honest with you as you can obviously tell from my feedback I dont do this its my little brother who has made the listing which i thought was harmles until i looked it up on ebay and found out that it wasnt. i had nothing to do with your saturday account, if you like you can check all the feedback and find out for yourself that I have nothing to do which such kind of activities, I apologise on behalf of my younger brother, I did as you asked me to. From this onwards I have fulfilled what I felt was the right thing to do in this matter. If you wish to abuse my ebay account any further by keeping the listing that is your choice. I am having to do the dirty work for my brother’s doing. Again apologies from my side. but as soon as I was made aware of the situation by you I rectified it. This is as far as I can sincerely help you in this situation.


It still doesn’t answer my questions about how they got into my account. I do however remember receiving a message a few days before hand saying something to me in a familiar way and I assumed they were a friend I couldn’t be clear about. They were using information they obviously retrieved from my eBay listing. Hats off to them, they did it smartly and I clicked somewhere and more than likely thought I was still within Hotmail when i again later entered my account password.

What would have you done in a similar situation? Please leave your comments in the comments form to the left of this article. Would you pursue it further? Should I take down the fraudster’s details? Am I being too harsh or perhaps am I too soft?

Now I have regained control of I can pass it on to the winning bidder and hope that he too will achieve astounding results in the women’s department as I did!

A further more serious note however is to always be on top of your game when playing around on the internet – you can never be sure what people are after and who they really are.



Below are links to their profile, their other dodgy auction and my counter auction warning eBay users not to bid on their item.