Ebay Classifieds wants to make its platform more secure and less anonymous. Soon, users will have to verify themselves via SMS-TAN if they want to post ads or respond to offers.
Ebay Kleinanzeigen had already announced in March that it would be introducing SMS verification to confirm identity in the summer to protect its users. Since then, around 250,000 users of the platform have already made use of it. But what was previously voluntary will soon become mandatory. As the company has announced, all users of Ebay Classifieds will now gradually be asked to provide a phone number.
SMS verification to better protect users
Auf Ebay Kleinanzeigen tummeln sich die unterschiedlichsten Nutzer, die entweder Waren oder Dienstleistungen anbieten, oder aber auf der Suche nach solchen Angeboten sind. Genau diese Vielfalt lockt aber leider auch Kriminelle an. Die Fälle reichen von Betrug, über Geldwäsche bis hin zur sexuellen Belästigung von Erwachsenen und sogar Kindern. Letzteren Fall hat ein Fernsehbericht im März 2021 erschreckend offen dargelegt. Die Täter nutzen häufig die Anonymität des Internets für sich. Und genau hier setzt das neue Konzept der Plattform an, wie atechbook im März in einem Conversation with Pierre Du Bois, enterprise speaker of Ebay classified advertisements, erfahren hat.
In recent months, Ebay Classifieds has already offered SMS verification as a voluntary measure. Now the company introduces it officially and obligatorily. The SMS verification starts first in selected areas, in which children and women play a role. In detail, this concerns the headings “Babysitter & Childcare”, “Mini & Side Jobs”, “Pet Care & Training”, “Tutoring” and “Internships”. Within the next four weeks, SMS verification for identity verification will become mandatory here as soon as users of Ebay Classifieds want to post one in these areas or get in touch with someone.
After the launch in these areas, however, the platform would like to extend SMS verification to the entire range of offers. The aim, it says, is to bring contacts between the offer creator and the person responding to the ad out of their supposed anonymity. In the long term, this should not only ensure more respectful dealings with one another, but also, and above all, a certain degree of protection against assaults and criminal dealings.
This is how SMS verification works on Ebay Classifieds
If someone places an ad on Ebay Classifieds or wants to respond to an offer via the chat function, he will have to activate his user account via SMS verification in the future. For this purpose, it is necessary to enter a cell phone number in the user account. According to the company, it can be specified individually for each one whether and which phone number is visible to other users.
For the first activity, users will receive a six-digit code on their cell phone via SMS, which they must enter in a mask on Ebay Classifieds. This code permanently activates the portal. As an alternative to a cell phone, a landline phone can also be used for verification, provided it can receive and play back SMS messages. Ebay classified advertisements gives to consider however that for the SMS verification exclusively call numbers from European Union member countries are permitted.
“In our view, SMS verification is a lightweight form of verification. The advantages for users are obvious – many already know this procedure from other websites. Verification via SMS is a low hurdle, is quick and is free of charge for users,” explains Paul Heimann, Managing Director of Ebay Kleinanzeigen.
Deliberately simple procedure chosen
Ebay Kleinanzeigen had deliberately kept the procedure simple, fast and easy for everyone to understand. One is dependent after all on the acceptance of the users and does not want to frighten anybody away, stresses also Du Bois opposite atechbook. Nevertheless, the SMS-TAN makes it easier for the company and the investigating authorities to identify a person in case of misuse.
Every cell phone number in Germany is now linked to a specific person. This is due to the anti-terrorism law passed by the Bundesrat in summer 2016. While it was already common practice to enter personal data for fixed-term contracts, prepaid cards could also be used anonymously until then, since no ID was required for activation. Users could therefore enter any name and a fake address, as the details were hardly checked. However, this has been different since July 01, 2017. Now, prepaid users have to activate the SIM card with their ID via video or postal ID.
In the long term, Du Bois concludes, SMS verification could conceivably be extended to other areas of Ebay Classifieds. For example, it could protect users from account theft should the system register an unusual log-in attempt.
- Help page on Ebay Classifieds
- Conversation with Pierre Du Bois, enterprise speaker of Ebay classified advertisements
- Press release