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Thread: ideas about how to spot spammers

  1. #1
    Moderator phlika29's Avatar
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    Default ideas about how to spot spammers

    Please note that whilst moderators do their best to weed out 'members' who may have a vested interest in the products they are recommending it is worth remembering that some posters may not be genuine.

    Posters that may have some monetary or professional interest in a product can often be spotted as they fall into one of more of the following:

    Only post in one thread
    Have low post counts
    Are very enthusiastic
    Are vague about their symptoms
    Avoid discussing their symptoms in any detail

    New products such as those discussed within the news section can be especially prone to this type of marketing.

  2. #2
    Junior Member QuadCore's Avatar
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    I thought I'd add my 2 cents to this. When I'm not here, I'm helping to moderate at a computer tech site that see's it's share of spammers. We try to nab spammers before they get a chance to drop any spam as much as we can. So we still give every single new member (unless we know them) a thorough inspection. Paste their names into an advanced Google search, set it to return 100 results/page, then first set it to search for anything on them from the past week. Depending on the results, you can then try extending it out to a month. You're looking to see if they're doing mass registrations at multiple sites, that's typical spammer behaviour. There are other clues as well - like if they've already been banned on some of them. I've found that they'll often post useless, mostly mindless replies in a thread - they want to accumulate posts and probably want to wait until they think they're off the radar. You'll see the same thing at all the sites they register at. At some point they'll either start dropping spam in new posts, or they'll add spam links in their sig or in their profile. Even if they never post anything, they might put spam links in their profile (member profiles are index-able by spiders). Others are more blatant, with their first post being nothing but spam. Sometimes they'll use a name that's difficult to search for because it returns too many irrelevant results, so what I'll often do, is alter my search term to something more specific to a forum - 'mickey mouse' would be tough to search for evidence of a forum spammer, BUT... "mickey mouse's profile" (with quotes) would be far more likely to only return forum profiles with that name. Another thing that can be done is to look up their user name at stopforumspam.com to see if any sites have added them. We use a vBulletin script that checks all new registrations against the stopforumspam database, which dramatically reduced the number of spammers, and now we primarily only have to deal with relatively new or at least less prolific spammers. Of course there are other administrative options that can be deployed, like restricting IM access until a certain post count is accrued (to put the kabaush on IM spamming), moderating their first posts, etc (all can be done via restricting the initial registered group) but one has to balance that with keeping the site user-friendly too.

  3. #3
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    Default ideas about how to spot spammers

    Seven ways to spot a scam
    Avoid falling for scams by asking yourself the seven simple questions below. If you answer yes to any of the following, there's a good chance its a scam.
    Were you contacted out of the blue?
    Does the deal seem to be too good to be true?
    Have you been asked to pass on any personal or financial details, or pay an upfront fee?
    Are you under pressure to respond quickly?
    Are the contact details vague, such as a PO box, premium rate number (starting 09) or mobile number?
    Does any of the correspondence you receive contain glaring grammatical or spelling mistakes?
    Are you requested to keep the matter confidential?
    If you've come a across a scam, take a look at our guide to reporting it to the right organisation.

  4. #4
    Senior Member johnabetts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David147 View Post
    Seven ways to spot a scam
    Avoid falling for scams by asking yourself the seven simple questions below. If you answer yes to any of the following, there's a good chance its a scam.
    Were you contacted out of the blue?
    Does the deal seem to be too good to be true?
    Have you been asked to pass on any personal or financial details, or pay an upfront fee?
    Are you under pressure to respond quickly?
    Are the contact details vague, such as a PO box, premium rate number (starting 09) or mobile number?
    Does any of the correspondence you receive contain glaring grammatical or spelling mistakes?
    Are you requested to keep the matter confidential?
    If you've come a across a scam, take a look at our guide to reporting it to the right organisation.
    Another way to spot a scammer or spammer is to see if a new poster appears who digs up a number of ancient threads in a very short time and seems to offer some revelatory contributions entirely out of the blue and out of the tone of previous posts in the thread and which may be, in fact, plagiarised from elsewhere.

    Referring to the last sentence in your post, David147, this particularly gives a hint that you may be quoting from another source. Now, this is fine if you acknowledge the source but it isn't fine if you even suggest the words are your own.

    By the way, "09" numbering is only applicable in the UK. This forum is very international which you will see if you check and UK is only a minor part of the setup.
    Last edited by johnabetts; 13th March 2015 at 06:46 AM.

  5. #5
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    David147's list is taken from 'How To Spot a Scam' on the which.co.uk site.

    I think, John, you'll find that many of this poster's replies have been cut and pasted from the internet.

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