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A concern regarding some questionable new members


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        I am relatively new to forums, but have been very pleased with the quality of service here at My Free Forum. I have a question regarding a couple of new members that I have seen join my forum. It is sending up a red flag for me and I was curious how I should proceed. My forum is a support group for intuitive eaters. In the past couple of days, I have had two new members join the forum. What is suspicious to me is that both of their usernames are credit card related. For example, one of the member's names is, 'Applyforacardtoday'. The other new member has a similar screen name, referring to applying for a credit card. Both of these new members have the same website link that leads to a site for credit card application. This definitely doesn't feel right to me and neither of these members are posting. I want to make sure that I maintain the security of my forum. What should I do in this regard? Would this be a case where it would be appropriate to ban these users? I'm curious if anyone else has had experience with this and the best way for me to proceed in this case. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Welcome to the wide world of spam!  This is something that has been happening on mine a lot.  It's a bot or a person that is just spamming to get attention to the website.

Do a search on google for the e-mail or IP address (in the user management) and you should get a link at the top of it for a site that has a collection of spammers.

All in all, I would suggest that you add in user activation, which means they need a real e-mail account to apply, turn on the CAPTCHA (in the user registration settings), and delete any accounts like that.  If you are in doubt, do a search in google for the e-mail or IP address and if it comes up on a spam list, then delete the account, if it doesn't then just leave the account and see if they spam or are a legit member.

There is also an option in the security settings to turn on the blacklist, and I would suggest that.  It might not help all too much though. (if you are using phpbb3)

I would like to see some additions for some better spam-control for phpbb3, because I'm getting 3-5 per day signing up usually, majority of them don't activate, but some of them do.
myff admin

Since most spam is done by humbots (may as well make up a term) no automatic system is going to really stop them, capcha and email systems will though slow them down.

As Zudane says, welcome to a world of spam, one other tip though is to deal with them instantly and ruthlessly. That acts as a deterrent.

On our phpbb2 forums, non posting spammers may get their name in the member list, but their links stay hidden so they are ineffectual.

I've been having a major problem with it, and am looking to resort to simply having all new members moderated until they reach a few posts.

Would be a pain, but just this morning I had 4 accounts sign up, one activate, and that one posted 13 times just for spam ads.  That is with the blacklist, and e-mail activation.
myff admin

I don't quite understand why some forums get this a lot more than we do on the support forum  

Thank you so much for both of your responses. I really appreciate it. So far, neither has posted, but I think I will disable their web addresses nonetheless. I will also note the other suggestions listed. Our forum is a space for those healing from serious eating disorder issues, so I don't really make it a practice to suffer fools. I want to protect the space from spam and the like, so I agree with the admin's response to take strong, swift action. I do find that it acts as a deterrant. Thank you again for both of your responses. I appreciate you taking the time to lend me a helping hand.

My own I think is in part because of some people that dislike me in a game.

Be a mod in a well-known mmorpg for a few years and you're bound to get a few enemies >_<  I had one person try to crash the site with a flood of search bots... I think I posted about that, was only down like 10 minutes at most though.  GO MYFF!

So far *Touches wood* We haven't  had ANY of this at the Lazy Lounge. . . . I'm sure it's only a matter of time.  

I ended up giving both of the new 'members' the boot. I felt rather disconcerted when I saw the signature they both had set up in their profile, "Rest In Peace". Yeah, I don't think I need these type of members or their intentions at my forum.

When I get a new member who "feels wrong" - a lot are so blatant that you don't have to wait for a feeling, just boot 'em out quick! - I go to this address:

You can search for the username, the e-mail address or the IP. If any of them come up on a list, out they go.

You can also get a list from the same place of known spammer domains and IPs. If you ban those before they find you, it could save you a fair bit of time in the future!

Good luck - personally, I think capital punishment is too good for that particular breed of parasite.

Just switch on the visual activation feature in the configuration section of the admin panel and problem solved, no more spambots.
Just Jen

Myles wrote:
Just switch on the visual activation feature in the configuration section of the admin panel and problem solved, no more spambots.

Yeah, this doesn't work for our forum. We get at least 10 new accounts a day and we have both activated. That doesn't count the 20 or so a day that aren't activated that I delete.

You can set your forum to admin activation, this way you get to look at usernames before they can become a member proper.  I would advise this in your situation (being inundated with humbots), though it is best if you are online quite often as people don't really like to wait ages to join a forum...though I've joined forums on admin activation before and a few days wait didn't really bother me personally.

The problem with that still though is the fact that majority of the spam accounts don't even get e-mail activated, just 1-5 a month get that far with mine.  The problems is that there are still a ton of accounts that get the accounts started.  I actually saw the same name on there three times now...

Do banned accounts count towards member count? If not I'm just going to mass activate them and then mass ban them, keep the e-mails banned and hopefully cut them back.  Otherwise I've just been deleting the inactive accounts. Forum Index -> Running your community
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