Weird followers

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  • #3064452

    ggreybeard
    Member

    All with gibberish e-mail names at outlook.com

    #3064468

    I came to the forums to look into exactly this. Excuse what may be a silly question from a relative newbie who is not hugely tech savvy. What is the reason to take the time to remove them as followers? I was just planning on ignoring them. Is there a reason not to?

    Rebecca

    #3064489

    Me too, three spam followers in a day on juliamhammond.wordpress.com – hope this is fixed soon WordPress!

    #3064505

    pviljoen
    Member

    I got the same thing. Only three since yesterday, all arriving in my email, but it doesn’t show in my notifications. All from outlook. Seems an aggressive spam endeavour.

    #3064539

    Getting the same over the last few days, about six of ’em (all of the .outlook address’). Not sure what the point of a bot subscribing to everyone’s blogs, seems strange, but obviously widespread.

    #3064544

    catakismet
    Member

    I also got more of these unwelcome followers yesterday on a second site. They seem to be altering the names to look more normal and less spammy.

    #3064546

    I also have had several Email Followers subscribing in the last few days, and they all were from the outlook.com domain, and they are patently spammers. I’ve removed them all so far. The e-mail addresses were typically of the following form:

    3 random letters + a Hispanic first name + 3 random letters + a Hispanic surname>+ 3 random (email redacted)

    Now, I can understand why spammers with blogs (often completely empty or containing fatuous posts) become Followers: they want you to visit their blog. But I don’t understand why people (or bots) would subscribe to a blog as Email Followers. They don’t provide a link, just a bogus e-mail address in the Email Followers list. Could it be that they simply want to be notified whenever you post a blog article so that they can add a spam comment? I can’t think of any other reason.

    #3064547

    Argghh the forum software has removed some of my above message. The spam e-mail addresses were of the form:

    3 random letters + a Hispanic first name + 3 random letters + a Hispanic surname + 3 random letters + @ + outlook + com

    #3064548

    alissonwp
    Member

    Hi there!

    Sorry If I am interrupting everything — but you guys aren’t the only ones seeing this.

    I’ve seen this happening a lot lately, and seen many topics on the public forums. Please read this article, as it will explain how to get further in contacting someone to resolve this.

    Also — If you have a site with a paid upgrade, you can get access to Live chat support so we don’t keep seeing a lot of posts about spam and weird emails. This may be an issue, and spammers always look for ways to make users follow back.

    Sorry for any interrupting — but I wanted to make this statement.

    Thanks!
    Alisson

    #3064550

    kungfunaomi
    Member

    Yep, so I got…. seven more. All deleted now. But yeah, there’s no blog to follow back! They are e-mail followers.
    I have to wonder if these are legit e-mails. It’s a bot filling in e-mail addresses, but what if they don’t exist?

    #3064551

    kungfunaomi
    Member

    Nevermind you guys, I took a junk e-mail address that I have (literally a junk address), and e-mailed one of the adresses- sancheztqalanbnk@ outlook to be exact. It delivered. It’s a registered e-mail, and it now has a frowny face in the inbox. I was curious to know if whoever-it-is has gone as far as registering those e-mails.

    #3064552

    alissonhz, the article you linked to relates to unwanted Comments and Comment spam. However, I was not discussing unwanted Comments or Comment spam (the Askimet spam filter takes good care of those in my case). My earlier post in this thread is regarding Email Followers who are clearly not bone fide followers, i.e. unwanted site followers. Yes, I can click on ‘Remove’ against each suspicious Email Follower (see ‘How to Remove a Follower’ in this article), but I would be interested to know why people or bots subscribe to my blog as Email Followers, since the only apparent benefit to them would be notification of a new article being posted in my blog. The only thing I can think of would be that notification of a new blog post would give them an opportunity to add a comment to the new article containing spam links, and that would be Comment spam (which Askimet deals with very well in my case).

    #3064553

    kungfunaomi, thanks for checking if the spammers’ e-mail addresses are addresses of real e-mail accounts. So my hypothesis about these nefarious Email Followers may be correct: I suspect that, whenever we post a new article in our blogs, these bogus ‘followers’ (probably a bot of some kind) receive a notification e-mail and a bot then adds a Comment on the new article, and that comment would contain spam links.

    #3064557

    timethief
    Member

    @fitzcarraldoblog

    So my hypothesis about these nefarious Email Followers may be correct: I suspect that, whenever we post a new article in our blogs, these bogus ‘followers’ (probably a bot of some kind) receive a notification e-mail and a bot then adds a Comment on the new article, and that comment would contain spam links.

    Precisely, and there is nothing new about this behavior. It is common.

    #3064558

    kungfunaomi
    Member

    @fitzcarraldoblog
    Yeah, I think you’re right. Rather elaborate scheme. So I guess we’ll just have to wait it out…

    #3064563

    Before making each new blog post, it will therefore be advisable to check the list of Email Followers for any of these patently bogus e-mail addresses from Outlook.com, and un-subscribe them by clicking on ‘Remove’. That way the bot will not receive notifications of new posts and should therefore not visit them to add a comment.

    #3064566

    gaillovesgod
    Member

    I have been reading responses and want to thank you as it has helped me to do wise things I did not know I needed to do. I have a couple of questions though so that I can learn of anything else I may need to do or not do.
    What does it even matter if we have a fake follower or get spam comments? What do the spammers do? Will I be able to tell? To undo? Is there any thing I can accidentally pass on or do to my friends (followers) to harm their sites? Thanks for sharing your wisdom. God bless you!

    #3064567

    kokkieh
    Staff

    Howdy all,

    Thanks for all the reports. We’re aware of this issue and working block these spam followers. We cannot just block all @outlook.com emails, though, as that will also block many real people from following your sites, so this isn’t just a quick simple fix.

    I know this is incredibly annoying, but I also want to reassure you that that’s all it is – annoying. There is no way these spam followers can put your site, your content, or your private account data in any danger. It just increases the number of email notifications WordPress.com needs to send out for each new post, so if anything it’s an attempted attack on us trying to overload our email servers, not on your sites or accounts.

    You can remove the spam followers under My Site ->People, but that won’t prevent new follows from coming in. You might also consider temporarily disabling email notifications of new followers in your account settings until we manage to get these blocked. You’ll still see a notification each time in the WordPress.com admin bar, but at least you won’t have your inbox flooded with emails from fake subscriptions.

    Please don’t email these addresses back – another potential reason for this is that someone is fishing for emails which they can then use to try and spam directly, and emailing them back will only provide them with your personal email address – something they cannot get hold of by merely following your site.

    We’ll update this thread with more details on this once we have them.

    #3064568

    pviljoen
    Member

    I opened a new discussion regarding the following but I think it is relevant to this thread – lately many bona fide followers’ comments land in the spam folder arbitrarily. Bloggers who I’ve been following for years and vice versa.

    #3064574

    kokkieh
    Staff

    @pviljoen, comments being filtered into spam has nothing to do with this thread, which is regarding a flood of fake email followers subscribing to random sites since a couple of days ago. If you already have a thread open, please be patient while waiting for a reply there.

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