1. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Benevolent Ochlocrat Staff Supporter Contributor

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    PM Spammers/Scammers

    Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Iain Aschendale, Apr 9, 2020.

    From time to time members of the Mod Team get approached by very new members with questions and proposals. Sometimes these are just new folks trying to understand what's okay and what's not going to the ones whose job it is to make those sort of decisions, and that's just fine.

    But other times they're trying to sell us something, get the forum involved in their private projects, and generally muck with things for their own personal gain. Some are outright scams.

    We deal with each sort appropriately.

    But what we can't do is see into anyone's PMs unless they either include us in the convo or hit the report button.

    There's been an uptick in the problem PMs lately, so we'd just like to ask that if you get a PM request from someone you don't know asking for something unusual that you're not really comfortable with, don't be afraid to hit "report". It'll help us sort out the malicious actors that are attracted to a community such as this.

    Thanks!
     
  2. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Mod hat on here: I totally support Iain's announcement. We've been worried, of late, that members are being approached via PM for things the perpetrators would not get away with on an open forum. Don't hesitate to report these unwanted 'conversations' to us ...or to add us Mods to the conversation list. We can't see this stuff unless you do.

    Just an additional thought ...you might not be the ONLY person being contacted for the same reasons, either. So even if you can shrug off the approach, other people might not find it so easy, or could fall for a scam. So don't hesitate to report anything that seems fishy.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
  3. Cdn Writer

    Cdn Writer Senior Member

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    Is there some type of lock on pm's? Like only members can pm me, or perhaps only people who have made a thread which I then posted on can pm me?

    Or can anyone pm anyone?

    EDIT: I just reported a message I received in December. This is the only spam/hoax message I have received.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2020
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  4. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    only members can use conversations (banned members also can't)
     
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  5. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, that was definitely a spammer, who got spam-banned, but unfortunately not before he/she/bot was able to message you. Exactly the kind of thing we'd like you to report in future.

    Most spammers are fairly obvious and we catch them early by various means, but a few others can slip in under the radar—at least for a while.
     
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  6. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Sorry, @Cdn Writer - Just realised we didn't fully answer your question. As far as I know, any Member or New Member can PM you—hence the problem. (I don't know if this applies to people you might have put on Ignore, but I'll check.)
     
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  7. Cdn Writer

    Cdn Writer Senior Member

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    I don't have anyone on ignore - at least not on purpose - so this isn't an issue.

    Sometimes when I read and respond from a blackberry, the button options on the screen are a bit small for my digits - follow, ignore, like, quote, etc. I know I've had problems when I used the quote feature....I sometimes added my comments to the quote instead of having those comments separate from the quote. Bah, I've figured it out now....I think...

    Thanks!
    Scott
     
  8. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    @Cdn Writer - I've done a bit of checking. You do have some control over who you interact with via Conversations. However, the control is fairly non-specific.

    You can either choose to accept conversations with Members only, or People you follow Only. I suspect you can also untick the blue box next to the 'Start conversations with you' section, which will mean that nobody can start a conversation with you. (I haven't tested this myself, for obvious reasons! I want to accept conversations from people.)

    You can find this section if you go to your Profile page and choose Privacy settings.
    Screenshot 2020-04-20 at 18.24.15.png

    The best bet is to allow Members only to start conversations with you, but be prepared to report anything that seems fishy or bothersome. (Including people who are simply becoming a pest.) You can also ignore any Conversation by not responding to it at all. You can also choose to remove yourself from it, via the specific Conversation page itself.
    thing.png
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2020
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  9. WilliamJF

    WilliamJF New Member

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    I rarely read private messages online. The internet is full of criminals because of its anonymity. The internet's like one big giant bush for them. Stranger danger.
     
  10. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Moderator hat on here.

    I think that's a good strategy, in general. However, we'd appreciate it if you DID read all your PMs here on the forum, and report any that seem 'off' in any way.

    Aside from the fact that a PM might be one of the Moderators trying to contact you about a forum issue (not a good idea to ignore one of those! :)) you can ONLY receive "Conversation" messages here from other registered forum Members or New Members. Outsiders are blocked from being able to send PMs to our members. And our Members don't have access to any of your Profile data other than what you have made public.

    If one of our Members is attempting to spam you, or is behaving in a way that makes you uncomfortable, we need to know about it. We will deal with them accordingly.

    Please don't ignore your PM messages here at Writers' Forum.org. You don't need to reply to any messages that you don't want to reply to, but please DO read them.

    Don't hesitate to contact a Moderator, if you feel something isn't right.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2020
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  11. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll I said I write, didn't say good. :P Supporter Contributor

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    Apparently I got one of them scammer/spammer PMs on Thursday.
    Well they are deleted now, but I wasn't sure at the time. o_O
     
  12. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Don't hesitate to report any that you think are 'off.' We'll investigate before we do anything, so we won't just take action immediately. However, if a person is scamming you, they are probably scamming others as well. So if we could get everybody to report the dodgy contacts, that will be really helpful.

    If it's a brand new member or a person you've had no previous interaction with on the forum threads, that's a pretty good marker for spam.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2020
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