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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.
    APPROVED
     
  • 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?
    REJECTED.

Some other red flags for spam:

  • Email address is a name or word followed by numbers & the provider is Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail. Ex: jennifer2345@hotmail.com. If their email address is the name of their internet service, it's probably not spam. Ex: jennifersmith@att.net or jennifersmith@suddenlink.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!

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Comments

  • Good discussion. We also do thorough background check and most often say we are 'by-invitation' community. Who do you know on our network. Either ask the reference to email us, or we email that person directly as a check. We even go to the length of phone calling some of the applicants first. 

    We recently put in PRIVATE PHONE question in the profile and also they must check "AGREE to guidelines" as the last question selection. It's very time consuming, but worth having good people. We also require their photograph. 

  • Yes, I do this often :)

  • Hey you can also just Google their name.

  • Wow thanks for that, never thought to check FB, I guess then we might as well check some of the other popular pages. Thanks.

  • Good to cross reference, but you certainly wouldn't approve me though, I don't have a facebook account, because I think it's full of kids and crap and virus', and I use and have used for over 10 years a yahoo email address.. I am admin on two sites and very actively involved.
  • You can also use Spokeo to do reverse email, phone, username, friends, name searches. It has been very useful for our site. We pay for the 'extra' bells and whistles, but you can at least do basic searches without payment.
  • Want to add that suspected spammer to the list I started here in Creators?

    https://creators.ning.com/forum/topics/list-of-known-or-suspected

  • Exactly.
  • Our network is private, but they could always copy from some other profile somewhere which has a related theme....
  • OMG, Strumelia, they are getting smarter!! Thank you so much for that tip!!!
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