Hackers have launched a new phishing scam that attempts to steal private information from eBay users by claiming the auction site will shut down next month, security experts have warned.

The emails state that eBay will close the business on the 27th February and asks members to vote on whether they think this should happen. The message claims that if 50 per cent of recipients disagree with the decision the website will remain open.

By clicking on either of the voting links the user will be directed to a malicious phishing website aiming to steal usernames and passwords.

"While not as sophisticated as some of the recent phishing campaigns we've seen, it could still result in the unwary handing their account details over to hackers, who could then use them to make fraudulent purchases and commit other identity crimes," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos.

"It's unlikely that many people will believe that such a successful website is considering calling it quits, but they might think it is a teaser campaign by the auction giant for some other kind of promotion," he added.

Studies on hacking constantly find eBay as one of the most targeted websites by phishers. This was confirmed earlier this month, when the Google blacklist of phishing sites found that half of all attacks of this kind targeted the company.