Phishing, pharming, spoofing, hijacking. It's all part of the escalating cat-and-mouse game between the shady criminals lurking about online and eBay and PayPal customers.

Phishing -- fake emails designed to look like official correspondence from a company designed to get unsuspecting users to enter personal and financial data on a bogus Web site -- has become a huge problem for eBay the past year.

Rob Chestnut, senior vice president of Rules, Security & Safety for eBay, sat down with ECommerce Guide during the annual eBay Live! Conference being held in San Jose, Calif. He discusses the measures both eBay and PayPal are taking to combat the barrage of online fraud. p> ''Phishing is obviously a concern for us,'' said Chestnut. ''It's definitely perfected. But, we're really happy about our (anti-phishing) toolbar, with more than a million downloads already since being released. You're effectively immune to any phishes with it.''

Chesnut said eBay has been working closely with ISP powerhouse Earthlink, which also has produced its own anti-phishing Web browser toolbar. He said there is no ''competition'' in this area and the companies exchange information regularly in order to ensure the best defense against phishing scams.

Each time a new phishing scam is launched, Chestnut said it takes eBay roughly 10 to 12 hours from the time they are first notified of the email to when they get an ISP to shut down the offending Web site.

Included in eBay's arsenal of enforcement tools are not only its direct connections in 33 markets, but also a former U.S. Customs agent, a former Scotland yard officer and a Battalion officer -- all with the connections necessary to move quickly in almost any country around the globe.

''You just get better and better, even in Eastern Europe, where we don't have any sites,'' said Chestnut.

Working closely with other large partners is also helping stem the tide of phishing emails.

''We're working with Microsoft on this problem, too. They're already blocking spoof emails on Hotmail and we're working with a number of other ISPs. I want to see a world where noone gets these emails anymore,'' said Chestnut. ''I think that's a trend you're going to see over the next year.''

eBay is also pushing its users to use 'My eBay' and the 'My Messages' pages for legitimate messages.

''We can more effectively contact them this way. It allows us to control fraud better. Basically, if it (an email received from eBay or PayPal is) is not in 'My Messages', it's not real,'' said Chestnut. ''In the future, this will enable us to contact our members more effectively.''

This article was first published on ecommerce-guide.com. To read the full article, click here.