I’ve been inundated with comment spam, or c-spam, of late (here, and at AdPulp). And when c-spam comes it comes in waves–40, 50, 100, 150 at a time. This nefarious activity poses a significant threat to the blogosphere, in that bloggers will be tempted to shut down comments altogether, rather than try to stay one step ahead of the jackasses who commit these crimes. Take away the back-and-forth of legitimate comments, and comments on comments, and you remove the conversational nature of blogs. Which is why blogging software providers like pMachine, Word Press and Moveable Type must make defeating c-spam a priority for 2005.
While on the topic of online scams, let’s also look at the practice known as phishing. Phishing involves the use of e-mail messages that appear to come from your bank or another trusted business, but are actually from imposters. By the way, phishing has nothing whatsoever to do with the rock group from Vermont.
Phishing e-mails typically ask you to click a link to visit a web site, where you’re asked to enter or confirm personal financial information such as your account numbers, passwords, Social Security number or other data. Although these web sites may appear legitimate, they are not. Thieves can collect whatever data you enter and use it to access your personal accounts.
When you receive these bogus e-mails (and you will), you can forward them to the Federal Trade Commission at [email protected], or contact them at www.consumer.gov/idtheft* or 877.IDTHEFT (877.438.4338).