I don't know why I didn't think of it before, but for the last few months, when I have a new member request and I can't quite decide if they're a spammer or just lousy at filling out their profile... I take their email and plug it into the search blank on Facebook. It's not a perfect system, but it is one more step to test a new member's authenticity before you hand them the power to blast nasty on all your members!
Examples of info I have found by checking Facebook first:
- Guy filled out the minimum on his profile.
I found him on FB and he had a profile pic and local friends.
- Lady filled out profile but withdrew membership.
I found her on FB with no pic and no friends.
APPROVAL N/A and I reported and blocked her (?) on FB for not being a real person.
- Lady filled out profile, said she had friends here (where my network is themed) but doesn't name any. Does a pretty good BS job, but puts a major city for her hometown (NYC).
I go to FB and there's no account for that email. This doesn't deny their existence, but what are the chances of someone contacting their "friend" that they don't name through a local social network instead of through email? Additionally the chance of them NOT being on FB? Slim. So I use the email to ask who their friend is and wait. No answer in a day?
Some other red flags for spam:
- Email address is a name or word followed by numbers & the provider is Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail. Ex: email@example.com. If their email address is the name of their internet service, it's probably not spam. Ex: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
- Profile is barely filled out. Someone might do the work to figure out the answer to my test question (What's the local newspaper, What's the governor's wife's name) because it's required. But then they slack on other questions. Don't be afraid to email them and ask something extra. Explain that protecting your members from spam is important so you have to go the extra mile before approving someone. No answer? Reject them.
I'd like to find out other ways you've learned to avoid spammers. Do tell!