EBay Inc. and PayPal Inc. today announced a partnership with Gmail, Google Inc.'s e-mail service, to reduce fraudulent e-mails and phishing attacks. With phishing, criminals attempt to steal consumer payment information by posing as legitimate institutions in e-mail messages. Beginning today, eBay and Paypal customers with Gmail accounts will receive fewer fake e-mails claiming to be sent by eBay and Paypal, according to the companies. Google will use e-mail authentication technology called DomainKeys and DomainKeys Identified Mail to prevent the delivery of fraudulent eBay and Paypal messages to Gmail users. This is an important announcement because phishing attacks are increasing and becoming more surreptitious, says Avivah Litan, vice president and analyst at Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc. Phishing is "the leading cause [of fraud] in terms of attacks against consumers," she says. Fraudulent e-mails have a roughly 3% click-through rate, and 1% to 2% of consumers lose money because of successful phishing attacks, says Litan. Representatives for San Jose, Calif.-based Paypal and eBay did not return calls for comment by the CardLine deadline.