Tag Archives: Spam

LinkedIn Virus….almost

A person asked me a question today about a LinkedIn invitation. A stranger, who belonged to one of his LinkedIn groups, sent him an invitation to connect. As is usual with LinkedIn invitations, the invitation came to him via email. When he clicked on the “accept” option, he became suspicious that the email was not generated by LinkedIn but was generated by a spammer or some insidious malware. Unfortunately, I had to inform him that his suspicions were correct. His computer has been compromised.

This is a fairly recent development with LinkedIn. I first heard about it about 3 months ago from Jim Frinak, a fellow “Social Media Hands-on Lab” coach. The way to avoid this is pretty straight forward. NEVER accept an invitation via email. ALWAYS log into LinkedIn and check your “Inbox” for invitations. ONLY accept invitations which come from your Inbox on LinkedIn.

These malefactors are always trying to find a way to get to you. You have to keep your guard up. So far, I have not heard about any viruses that snuck into and are being spread by the LinkedIn web site, but it is only a matter of time. Each week I receive spam from gmail accounts and the spam is being generated from viruses on the gmail servers. The spam comes from accounts of people who do not download email to their computers and who scan their computers frequently for viruses. If Google can not keep malware out, do not expect LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or the rest to succeed.

I have seen several articles on this virus, dating from last summer (2010). Here is an example http://www.bnet.com/blog/businesstips/fake-linkedin-requests-how-to-spot-them/8563

The only thing I would disagree with, is his thought about accepting a LinkedIn invitation from someone he does not know. I am in business development (sales). I meet a lot of people each week. I am careful about “linking in” with people, but still accept invitations from strangers. I do a little screening first. For more information on the rules  I follow, here is a post I did on that: Take The Drama Out of LinkedIn Invitations.

James Snider
Business Development Director

Corporate Marketing Department…one hour at a time

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I am rich! in spam…

I just received email notification from the Magistrate of the District of Johannesburg that I am an heir of Lady Odetta Holmes. Who knew!?!? That long-lost, distant, royal relative, that I never heard about, is contacting me via my job seeker email account! Is that luck or what? Between this and that 750,000 Great Britain Pounds I keep winning every single day….I think I am fixed for life.

The amount of spam I have been getting seems to be directly proportionate to my increased visibility. Every time I update CareerBuilder, I get, not only, plenty of offers for commission only insurances sales positions, but phone calls from companies who want to charge me thousands of dollars to help me find a job and an assortment of jobs with “established Fortune 500” companies. The big tip is the fact that I have NEVER seen a legitimate request to schedule an interview which was accompanied by a long list of benefits (including first year salary expectations, the promise of rapid advancement, health insurance, 401(k), vacation benefits….you can not help exhibit a little Pavlovian response.)

If they are selling the job to you before you have even met them….you can be sure that it benefits them and it will not benefit you.

However, sometimes you are in a little bit of doubt. You have to give the scammers a little bit of credit. They are getting better at it. Here is a nice rule of thumb: Google “Company Name” and the word “scam” and then do it again with “Company Name” and the word “complaints.” That should give you plenty of information to steer clear of the bad guys.

One more thing. If no one told you before, you really should set up a separate email account for your job search. Not only does, “DaveLovesBrenda@aol.com” not look very professional, but you are probably going to want to trash your job hunter email account once it starts becoming a dumpster to collect all sorts of junk email….and after you get your new job.  Gmail is free and looks more “with it” than AOL or one of the old Baby Bell email accounts.

In the meantime, let me get back to the Magistrate from the District of Johannesburg. The next time you hear from me, I will be sitting on a pile of gold coins like Scrooge McDuck.

I’ll let you know if it feels OK to dive into Krugerrands.

James Snider
B2B Business Development
Anyone can give you social media.  I make sure it’s marketing.

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Oooh! They got me!!!!

If you read my last blog post, you read about how spammers have been pestering my blog with phony comments. I got wise to them pretty fast…but then, they changed their approach.

On WordPress, you can see which sites are sending you traffic. For example, I post my blog topics on various LinkedIn groups. That is probably why you are reading this blog….you saw me mention it on LinkedIn. I can tell which groups send me the most traffic (hints on that in my next post) based on the information WordPress gives me.

So a few days ago, I was checking referring sites and noticed that one was sending me bunches of traffic. “umnongok (dot) co (dot) cc/blog/15-useful-wordpress-tips-to-make-your-theme-even-better (dot) php” I added the “(dot)” to reduce the SEO benefit to this scammer site of my mentioning it on this blog.

So, like a naive person, I clicked on the web address. It took me to some ad site for Amazon.com. When I tried to move past it, it sent me off into cyberspace. I tried it again and it took me to another ad site…then on to cyberspace.  I tried it about five times… always with the same result.

So I Googled it and found one response on GNU/Linux Area. According to GNU/Linux, this is yet another attack of the spammers:

Here we go again.

It seems there are so many people in this world not willing to do an honest job in order to earn their living.

Some of them are spammers and scammers, and here’s another link I found in the Referent section on my blog control panel.

http://umnongok (dot) co (dot) cc/blog/15-useful-wordpress-tips-to-make-your-theme-even-better (dot) php (DO NOT VISIT THIS LINK!!!)

Apparently I had 9 visits from that URL, of course that is not true.

So now I am not sure if I fell prey to a spammer or a scammer. Maybe I have spyware on my Mac or who knows what?  Drat! I was feeling pretty smart…and now I feel like just another schmuck! My only hope is that my very old Mac (a PowerPC version) will not be suitable for whatever malware is wandering around on my hard drive.

By the way, a new “mysterious referring site” just popped up today “financialguide (dot) ce (dot) ms.” A google search turned up no such web address in the first four pages of results. This web page supposedly sent 7 viewers to my blog. I have to wonder why a financial guide web page would generate so much traffic when my post on the Social Media Club of Dallas and the Social Media Club of Fort Worth sites mustered just one hit between the two?  (remember what I said about things that do not make sense…. they should be a red flag) I am just going to assume that this is some sort of malware site, report it and get on with my life.

So, here is a lesson for you. Be careful and do not get too curious about who is sending traffic in your direction. Most of the time, the information you get from WordPress is not very informative….except for LinkedIn. I will tell you about using LinkedIn to drive traffic to your blog in a few days.

Be careful out there…

James Snider
B2B Business Development Consultant
Anyone can give you social media.  I make sure it’s marketing.

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Spam! Spam! and more Spam!

I recently became aware of something that really did not make me very happy. Evidently, once a blog reaches some level of success (and it must be a pretty modest level of success, because I am no Seth Godin or Chris Brogan), it becomes a vehicle for spam.

The spam comes in the form of comments supposedly left by blog readers. WordPress tries to flag every comment that looks like spam, but my experience has been that WordPress is guilty of a lot of “false positives.” I approve most of the comments that WordPress sticks in my spam folder.

However, about a month ago, I started getting comments in my spam folder that were clearly spam. I will include a few examples and share with you what tipped me off….but I would love to hear back from you on this topic.

For starters, when something just does not make any sense, suspect it of being spam. For example, I started getting multiple comments on a blog entry I posted about 6 months ago. I started wondering why this particular post (Ignite! Dallas June 2, 2010) was suddenly attracting so many comments. Something didn’t make any sense. This was warning sign number one.

So I read the comments.

That is the fitting weblog for anybody who desires to search out out about this topic. You realize a lot its almost arduous to argue with you (not that I really would want…HaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Nice stuff, just nice!

OK…nice comments. Lots of praise…but the language is a little off. Not a native English speaker, I suppose. But the comments could be about almost any blog. I found the tone of the comments a little insincere. But the final point was the comment, “You definitely put a brand new spin on a topic thats been written about for years.” In this post, I was pointing people to my Ignite! Dallas presentation….that is a new, trendy thing….it has not been written about for years.

OK, now my defenses were up. On to the next comment on my Ignite! Dallas presentation.

I have to say that Im really unimpressed with this. I mean, sure, youve got some very interesting points. But this blog is just really lacking in something. Maybe its content, maybe its just the design. I dont know. But its almost like you wrote this because everybodys doing it. No passion at all.

OK, a different approach. This “comment” was critical of my blog post. I guess they were trying to convince me that this was a real comment and not saccharine praise that I would automatically approve. They thought they would change it up a bit to keep me off balance. I take my hat off to their ingenuity…but I did not bite. Once again, the writing was clumsy. Additionally, their comments did not match the blog post. This was one of my more passionate posts.  There was no way that a real blog reader would say, “No passion at all.”

Here is the third and final example.

You have some honest ideas here. I done a research on the issue and discovered most peoples will agree with your blog. After that early period, the Beatles evolved considerably over the years.

What!?!?! The Beatles? OK, this must be the worst spam comment of all. I have never mentioned the Beatles in my blog. What were they thinking?

So now the question is, how are these comments being used for spam? I looked at the web pages associated with the comments. This was clue number three…and the final bit of evidence I needed.

The fake comments included web pages entitled: “buy Bactrim online” with the web address “antibiotics.blahblah.com/bactrim.php” (I’ve changed part of the web address to prevent an SEO benefit to these malefactors) and “cheap Bactrim canada” from the same URL and “poker TV”  from “blahblahtvnetwork.com”.

OK, either there is some SEO benefit to spreading a web page address all over the internet or these spammers were hoping that people would just click on the web links. In any event, I just deleted these “comments”. I got around 20 of them on my blog before they started to cease. My guess is that WordPress stopped them. I doubt the spammers lost interest and just quit trying to spam my blog.

Things went along OK until these rats changed their approach. I will tell you how they fooled me in my next post. They appealed to my ego….and that frequently gets me in trouble.

By the way, I realize that the picture at the top of this post is of frankfurters and not spam. I don’t have any pictures of spam.

James Snider
B2B Business Development Consultant
Anyone can give you social media.  I make sure it’s marketing.

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