Experienced PM Spam?

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Experienced PM Spam?

Postby Kit on Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:44 pm

Many of you know how much I hate Spam. It comes from my personal experiences as well as my experiencess as a forum admin. Here is an excerpt from an article I wrote on my blog and I thought it might help you protect yourselves and/or your own forums.
What is PM spam? PM spam is a hidden form of spam because it is sent through private messages in forums. This type of message often requests that the unsuspecting member complete a survey, visit a site, click on a link, or respond to the message in some way. PM spam can also just be an advertisement for a product. This last type may read very much like any ad. What, at first glance, may seem like an innocent request for help, could actually be PM spam.

Why do people send PM spam? A spammer’s goal is usually to either get clicks on a link or get some type of information from the people that get the messages. People who send spam through private messages often do so hoping to bypass spam filters that administrators have in place. Since private messages are hidden from public view, it can be hard to detect the inappropriate messages and ads. Spammers take advantage of the privacy aspect to lull members into a sense of security.

Members don’t usually realize that the message they get is a mass PM, a private message sent to multiple people. The recipient can often feel flattered and secure when someone asks for help. PM spammers depend on the fact that their request seems harmless and that the member will be inclined to “help” them.

Have you experienced PM Spam on your own forum? Have you ever gotten this type of PM on a forum? How did it make you feel? What precautions do you take to guard yourself from spam on forums?
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Postby Mel on Thu Aug 16, 2007 9:00 pm

There have been a few times where I have received PM spam on some forums and it was mostly people trying to sell me something or get me to join their program or biz op.

I just deleted it and then notified one of the moderators of the issue. As you said, I couldn't really tell if they only contacted me or if maybe they sent it to everyone but in either case, it was unsolicited and I didn't appreciate it.

On our forums, I haven't received any but then that might have to do with my title... maybe they skip the mods and admin?

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Postby Mila on Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:53 pm

THanks for sharing Kit, great post.

I have experienced that at one forum but it wasn't too bad... I have heard bad stories though.
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Postby Kit on Fri Aug 17, 2007 4:50 pm

On one site ,where I was listed as admin, I got several pm spams. I remember thinking...DUH! If you're trying to sneak it by then you DON'T send it to someone who has the power to boot your butt! lol

When I was a newbie to the net, I remember getting a couple of PMs that were on the spammy side. One shocked me so much that I didn't go back to the site for months. Then I learned what was going on and went back...armed. ;)

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Postby Mara B on Sat Aug 18, 2007 11:09 pm

Thankfully I haven't experienced too much of that, but on my email, that's another subject entirely. Thanks for the explanation, Kit. :D
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