Tag Archives: Spam

How Not To Be A Moron on Twitter

16 Nov

In the last week or so, I’ve become VERY popular on Twitter. People who usually never talk to me are sending me cryptic private messages, filling up my inbox with whispered secrets.

 “ROFL, is this YOU in this video? http://clickhere.com.”

“I think I’m smarter than you, take the IQ challenge here. http://youareamoron.com.”

“I’m making $400 a day on Twitter, click here to find out how. http://noreallyclickitsfun.com.”

“I like to call sweat pants buffet pants.”

Well, the last one was a real message. But the other three, all of which I received 30 billion times each, were all spam direct messages, not sent to me by friends, but by internet hoodlums who had gotten a hold of my friends’ Twitter accounts. How’d it happen? They got the same spam message in their inbox, got curious about the link, and GAVE AWAY THEIR PASSWORD.

Seriously. Y’all, stop doing that.

What happens next is embarassing. Some of your friends start sending you messages back, “Hey, you sent me a spam mesage.” Some report you as a spam-sender and block you. The rest of us, though? We are quietly judging you.

We are wondering why you were worried enough that you might be in the “OMG, is this YOU??” video to click.  Just what kind of Paris Hilton-style tape do you have out there?

We’re rolling our eyes that you thought you could make $400 a day on Twitter. Silently smirking that you wanted to take an IQ test to prove you were smarter than us.

As if.

Listen, I get it. I clicked on one of those once, a link promising to show me who was stalking me on Twitter profile — entered my password, then watched in shame as my account sent out unauthorized messages on my account.

Not only did I then have to deal with the hassle of deleting the offending tweets and changing my password, everyone knew I was a dork.

It’s like that Anna Kournikova virus that spread a few years back. Click on the link, and not only did you send all your friends a virus, all of them knew you had clicked because you wanted to see naked pictures of a hot tennis player.

I didn’t fall for that, because hello? My racquet doesn’t swing that way. But Mike Wendland, the technology writer for the Detroit Free-Press, did. And got to tell the whole world about it when he sent the virus to a thousand of his dearest friends and business contacts. His column about it is a classic.

So next time, before you click on a link, think long and hard. “Do I want everyone in the free world knowing I was interested in free Viagra samples, easy breast enlargement exercises, an inside look at the secret world of the Kardashian sisters?”

If not, don’t click. Just say no.


Dear Princess “Arlene,”

21 Sep

Poor little Arlene Randall. How can I resist opening your email? You were so vulnerable and and honest in your simple subject line.

I am so sad.

Arlene, I don’t want you to be sad. I know sad. Sad sucks. And even though I didn’t recognize your name, I wanted to lift your dark clouds of despair. Turn your frown upside down. How could Yahoo mail put this cry for help in my spam filter? Heartless Toads.

Dear friend,

Yes, Arlene Phillips! I am your friend. See, you have hope even in your sadness. We can get through this. I will help you.

Maybe you do not know who i am but i will introduce myself. I am … I think … let’s my name will be kept in secret. Let it be Princess.

Well… ok. I liked Arlene, but Princess it is. 

I am a little Princess. I am from Russia.  I am so sad. I am smart and nice princess but so sad at the same time.

A smart and nice princess? And you’re sad? Oh, now you’ve lost me.

What the heck is wrong with you, Arlene? I am a stay-home mom and freelance writer. I have dogs who shed and children who argue and bills that DO NOT PAY THEMSELVES, Arlene Phillips. I am not a smart and nice princess.  And you want to tell me about YOUR sadness? What on earth could be bothering a princess?

I would like to find handsome guy with whom we will have a nice life.

Oh, the Prince Charming, myth. We all want that, honey. But you need to love Arlene first. Stop moping and whining about how sad you are. Talk to someone about meds, snap out of it, count your blessings, do some volunteer work. Prince Charming will come along if he’s meant to.

I do not know what to do. I want to change everything in my life.

Oh, Arlene. Seriously. You are a princess. You’re probably blonde and thin, t0o. And yet, of all the email boxes in the world, you choose me to vent about your sadness and expect me to relate when you want to change everything in your life?  The whining is getting on my nerves. Let’s make a deal, Princess Arlene.  I’ll live in the castle you find so dreary, a tragic single existence with nothing to bring me happiness but hand servants who bring me chilled grapes.

You get your royal butt over here. The dog was spayed this morning, and she needs some pain medication. While she’s busy with that, maybe you can change the blankets she puked all over.

After that, Princess Arlene, you can do the dishes, pack the lunches for tomorrow, and solve the argument the children are having over who is the most worried about the dog. Can you do sutures, Arlene? Because it’s getting heated and they may draw blood. If not, go ahead and bring your royal paramedic. I won’t need him.

Hope you are good boy and can be my prince.

Uh, Arlene? Honey? Ain’t no prince at this email address. I’ve got a sweet husband, but he is not available to your highness.

Please, send a letter for me back when you get this letter cause it will make me feel better. I will not be alone. And perhaps we can be
good friends.

Arlene, consider this your letter, you poor, sad, smart and nice Russian princess. I can not help you. Nyet. I can’t. I do not believe I need any Russian Princess friends, and I am not the prince you’re looking for, of this I am sure. Everyone gets sad sometimes, honey.

But in case anyone else wants to help you, they can leave a caring comment for you. Bless your sad little royal heart.

Who’s Stealing Your Identity on Twitter?

28 Jul

It appeared in my Twitter stream as a note from a friend, seductively beckoning:

“Want to know whos stalking you on twitter!?: Click here, stupid.”

Only, of course, it didn’t say “Click here, stupid.” Because I wouldn’t fall for that. Instead, it linked to a site called Twitviewer, promising to show you the last 200 people who had looked at your Twitter profile.

Now, the missing apostrophe in “whos” should have been RED FLAG #1 that this was not a well-run business model.

But, no, I blithely clicked on.

Then, ignored RED FLAG #2 when the site said “enter twitter ID and password.”

Now, some legitimate applications need that information. Tweetie, Tweetdeck, Tweepular. But they also explain to you why they need your password, what they will do with it, how they will store it, etc.

This “stalker” site had none of that. What it did have? The appeal to everyone’s inner middle-schooler. The “I know who likes you,” pitch. So I entered my information, and ignored RED FLAG #3 – No disclaimer about how they protect your information.

After all, it was worth the risk to see who was stalking me. Maybe @JohnMayer? Maybe @Oprah? Maybe @BarackObama? Who could want to see what I was up to on Twitter?

Of course, the answer was 200 boob-flashing wanna-be porn stars that I could add to my “following” list with just one click.

Sigh. I’m such a moron sometimes.

Of course, when I logged back into my Twitter account, I learned to no surprise that the Twitviewer site had used my provided password to tweet out my suggestion that all my friends visit its site, too. Awesome.

So if you went there, stop reading this post about my stupidity and go change your Twitter password before you find yourself unwittingly sending out spam all the live-long day. I’m sorry. If you didn’t go there, write down the three red flags I should have seen that would have saved me a lot of headaches today.

  1. If they can’t even spell their marketing pitch, they may not be concerned with other details. Like ethics. Or your privacy.
  2. If they ask for your password, be darn sure you know why they want it.
  3. If they have no posted privacy policy, it’s probably because they are stealing your identity.

Don’t be a moron like me. Thanks.

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