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  1. #1
    Moderator pogue's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Precaution for anyone putting their email address in their signatures

    I sent a PM to a user earlier this morning after I noticed he had his email address in his signature in plaintext (example: me@email.xyz). I just wanted to let anyone know who is doing this and the address is either your personal/private email address or one that you want to continue using to NOT post it as such. This isn't a rule infringement - just a suggestion, because posting an email address publicly in that way will cause spambots who harvest email addresses to catch it very simply and you can expect to get a large volume increase of spam by doing this. I highly recommend that anyone who currently has their email listed like this or is thinking about it to change it using an alternative method - of which there are many. I am posting this just to warn people because the simple fact is that this forum is highly trafficked and if you are not using good spam filtering (or your ISP isn't), it will be/become very inconveniencing to you, if not extremely annoying, due to the large amount of spam you will get.

    Q: How should I be posting my email address?

    A: There are many alternatives to posting your email address in this way, and still allow people to contact you. One simple way is to use the method I currently have in my signature, which is to just change the "@" symbol to "[at]". You can also enable the email system through the vB control panel and people can send you an email through a form here, which you can even link to, and they can simply click on your name and choose to email you (to enable this feature go to "User CP", "Edit Options" and enable "Receive Email from Other Members"). To allow people to email you, you can link to this form, which is going to look like this:
    Code:
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/sendmessage.php?do=mailmember&u=XXXX
    Just change XXXX with your member id#, which you can find by clicking on your username and on your profile, or if you enable emailing you can just copy and paste the link. Mine is 11064, so my email link is http://forum.bodybuilding.com/sendme...member&u=11064 This will only show a form to email you and will not reveal your email address to the person sending the message to you unless you choose to reply to the message from that specific address. If you want to shorten the link, you can use a service such as TinyURL or other redirect services. One I particularly like is qoiob because it generates URLs using non-standard characters (Example: http://ツ.tv/pogue ). The only drawback is that only registered members of bodybuilding.com can email you through that form. You can also link to a third party email form (ie: a FormMail script) you install on a web hosting provider (such as through your business web site or a free provider). See the final link below for more information on this.

    UPDATE 1/30/13: Because the bbcom email system now encrypts all emails sent to and from users, when you send an email to a user using the internal email system, it will not display the senders email address so you can properly reply. So, I no longer recommend using this method to prevent spam -- or even to use bbcom's internal email function, as it doesn't work properly.

    Another good option is similar to the one previously mentioned or a slight difference in that, such as spacing out your email address (ie: me @ myemail . xyz), adding a character or term that needs to be manually changed or removed before sending
    Example: "Please email me at joebobREMOVEME@emailservice.abc. Take out the text 'REMOVEME' before sending."
    Finally, another option, since images or clickable URLs are not allowed in signatures, is to use a temporary email address such as SpamBox, SpamGourmet (my personal favorite - both services are free), or other temporary/disposable email addresses. For example, you can create a custom username on the server (with a variety of functions and choices) to forward messages that will go to your regular email address without compromising your real address by posting it publicly. You can then change this address to something else in your signature later if you find you are getting too much spam from that email or, as need be, based on the way the service works.
    Example: variable_name.20.username@spamgourmet.com - Using the Advanced Mode in Spamgourmet you can create a temporary forwarding address that will work for 20 emails and then you must change it.
    Q: Is there any other information on this subject?

    A: Read through How to avoid spam on Rick's Spam Digest for more tips on how to, and also WHY you should, keep your private or business email address out of your signature so as to avoid spambots and harvesters. If you or your email service provider is using very good spam filters then in some cases you can post your address, but this is generally rare. If you aren't sure what kind of filters you're using or have never had them tested against a barrage of spam, don't risk it if you want to keep using the address very long in the future. I used to keep my AT&T (previously SBC) Yahoo email address in my signature and in threads I posted, but I got so overwhelmed with spam (using "Award Winning" spam filters) that I can no longer use it.

    If you have any questions, feel free to post them. Also, if you have had your email address in your signature for some time, please share what amount of spam volume (if any) you have been receiving and what spam filters (if you know what they are) that your or your ISP and/or email client has been using.

    Originally Posted by pogue View Post
    I found this service recently for people who don't have web space and want to use a form for their email: http://formmail.to/

    If you do have web space, you can use this very well written drop in PHP form mail script: http://www.tectite.com/formmailpage.php and http://www.dagondesign.com/articles/...mailer-script/ (which uses reCAPTCHA) or a Perl one here: http://nms-cgi.sourceforge.net/scripts.shtml
    I found another handy email hiding technique while using Twitter called an email shortening service called scrim. You just put in your email and it creates you a nice little URL like so

    http://scr.im/pogue

    It also gives you a link to paste your email in forums which shows up like this:

    p...@s...l.net

    You have to pick a CAPTCHA before the email is displayed, so it is essentially spam proof. This is what I use in my signature to let people email me and it has really cut down on the amount of spam I get to basically zero.

    reCAPTCHA also has a free service to obfuscate your email address, but it requires HTML to display, so it couldn't be used on the forum - but would work well on a website. http://www.google.com/recaptcha/mailhide/

    pogue
    I don't neg/infract/ban if you disagree with me in a civil discussion on any topic. I don't claim to be an expert on any subject and can always be proven wrong. But good luck trying ;)

    Come check out my blog! I need some help updating it or switching to another hosting platform. If you can help, please contact me!
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    I do not use the PM system. Please email me if you need something. http://scr.im/pogue
    I read but cannot respond to all email inquiries. If it is forum related, please contact ForumAdmin or bbmod1/bbmod2 first. If you have been banned, please contact the moderator who banned you via the email address left in your banned reason message. I do not undo bans, remove or transfer rep points, change usernames, or delete accounts. If you need help with these issues please email support@bodybuilding.com

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  2. #2
    This Takes Skill MaddenMuscle's Avatar
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    good post!
    Official Guido of the Misc.

    Im like a Brassiere, its a party in here

  3. #3
    BOATS AND HOES user98511001541's Avatar
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    I noticed a huge increase of spam when i became a rep and put my email in my sig... was too lazy to anything about it

    nice thread
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  4. #4
    Gone..... Coulaid's Avatar
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    Good Post... I learned this the hard way

  5. #5
    Moderator pogue's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Coulaid View Post
    Good Post... I learned this the hard way
    You've got a duplicate at in your signature now. The idea is to replace the actual "@" symbol, with the word "at" instead. So you would actually want to change it to ISSCoulaid[at]gmail.com (alternatives: (at), {at}, AT, etc). Another thing that you can do with GMail specifically (and some other mail providers) is to add a "tag" after your username preceded by a plus (+) symbol. So, you could change it to ISSCoulaid+bbforum@gmail.com. Then, you can see where a large amount of spam is coming from if you start receiving a lot at that address with the tag appended and also create a filter w/in Gmail's preferences to automatically filter all messages with that tag to go directly to your Spam folder.

    Unfortunately, once you have already exposed your private email address in the full plaintext fashion, it's already too late to try and fix the problem. You'll not be picked up by future email harvesting spambots, but you are already on an innumerable amount of spam lists already.
    Last edited by pogue; 10-11-2007 at 12:23 PM.
    I don't neg/infract/ban if you disagree with me in a civil discussion on any topic. I don't claim to be an expert on any subject and can always be proven wrong. But good luck trying ;)

    Come check out my blog! I need some help updating it or switching to another hosting platform. If you can help, please contact me!
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    I do not use the PM system. Please email me if you need something. http://scr.im/pogue
    I read but cannot respond to all email inquiries. If it is forum related, please contact ForumAdmin or bbmod1/bbmod2 first. If you have been banned, please contact the moderator who banned you via the email address left in your banned reason message. I do not undo bans, remove or transfer rep points, change usernames, or delete accounts. If you need help with these issues please email support@bodybuilding.com

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  6. #6
    WowWowWowWow ab-swing asianbabe's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips pogue.

  7. #7
    Universal Nutrition naturalguy's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by asianbabe View Post
    Thanks for the tips pogue.
    x2
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  8. #8
    The Devils Advocate DinoT1985's Avatar
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    Good thread. I'm lucky gmail does a great job at SPAM filtering.
    Dino T-Nutrition

    - NOTICE: Not all posts represent my own opinion. I enjoy playing devil's advocate.

  9. #9
    nom nom nom deserusan's Avatar
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    Thanks Pogue. We have excellent filters so it doesn't matter much. However, it's good you are looking out for us.

    -D
    "I just use my muscles as a conversation piece, like someone walking a cheetah down 42nd Street." - Arnold Schwarzenegger

    Heretic....

  10. #10
    Recovering Pharisee AronP24's Avatar
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    can this be used on a cut?
    "The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearth-stone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature." A.Lincoln 3/4/1861

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  11. #11
    Moderator pogue's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dinot1985 View Post
    Good thread. I'm lucky gmail does a great job at SPAM filtering.
    Yes, very good - some of the best spam filters around.

    Originally Posted by deserusan View Post
    Thanks Pogue. We have excellent filters so it doesn't matter much. However, it's good you are looking out for us.

    -D
    Any idea what filters you're using?

    Originally Posted by AronP24 View Post
    can this be used on a cut?
    I wouldn't recommend spam while cutting.

    I don't neg/infract/ban if you disagree with me in a civil discussion on any topic. I don't claim to be an expert on any subject and can always be proven wrong. But good luck trying ;)

    Come check out my blog! I need some help updating it or switching to another hosting platform. If you can help, please contact me!
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    I do not use the PM system. Please email me if you need something. http://scr.im/pogue
    I read but cannot respond to all email inquiries. If it is forum related, please contact ForumAdmin or bbmod1/bbmod2 first. If you have been banned, please contact the moderator who banned you via the email address left in your banned reason message. I do not undo bans, remove or transfer rep points, change usernames, or delete accounts. If you need help with these issues please email support@bodybuilding.com

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  12. #12
    CEO Hotwings! Travis71902's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Pogue runs this mutha!

  13. #13
    Registered User ForceLineBacker's Avatar
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    I have found that 55555 or other numbers in the middle of your name works best, as spam bots now pick up [at] and replace it with @ in the database, or they recognize the most popular REMOVE and simply remove it before it is added to the data base.


    At AT we used to have the forum software automatically add REMOVE before the @, but we did some tests and spambots got it, so now we simply have it coded to add random numbers.

    Anyway I wouldn't worry as much in your signature, then I would in your profile if it is publically viewable, as that is really where most spam bots/farmers are coded to look.

  14. #14
    Banned konvicted's Avatar
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    Pogue, hook a brother up with some cliffs!!!!!!!!!!! (no wigger)

  15. #15
    Moderator pogue's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by konvicted View Post
    Pogue, hook a brother up with some cliffs!!!!!!!!!!! (no wigger)
    Don't put your plain email address in your signature or anywhere else for that matter, it always needs to be obfuscated (hidden, changed) so that spambots can't read it.

    I found this service recently for people who don't have web space and want to use a form for their email: http://formmail.to/

    If you do have web space, you can use this very well written drop in PHP form mail script: http://www.tectite.com/formmailpage.php or a Perl one here: http://nms-cgi.sourceforge.net/scripts.shtml
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  16. #16
    Banned konvicted's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by pogue View Post
    Don't put your plain email address in your signature or anywhere else for that matter, it always needs to be obfuscated (hidden, changed) so that spambots can't read it.

    I found this service recently for people who don't have web space and want to use a form for their email: http://formmail.to/

    If you do have web space, you can use this very well written drop in PHP form mail script: http://www.tectite.com/formmailpage.php or a Perl one here: http://nms-cgi.sourceforge.net/scripts.shtml
    And thats why your my favorite administator/mod/sexy beast! (no homo) Good info!

  17. #17
    Registered User Sportsfuel's Avatar
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    Excellent advice on this thread i made this mistake once before and ended up getting about 300 spam emails every day.

  18. #18
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    good posts

  19. #19
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    "emailaddress LINK hotmail.com

    replace link with @"

    that's how i prefer to write my email address if i do it publically. Of coarse you can replace link with anything.

  20. #20
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    Thumbs up

    thanks for this warning, admin. I was never fully aware of the dangers of having my email public, but now I am! thanks again.

  21. #21
    WVU Football Fan darik's Avatar
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    good idea
    Go WVU Mountaineers and Pittsburgh Steelers

  22. #22
    Registered User Donut Juice's Avatar
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    Pogue, is the forums updating for you? It doesnt seem to be updating to me? :\
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  23. #23
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    Good info, thanks for the tips.

  24. #24
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    Thanks

    Thanks for the advice.
    Olivia :)

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  25. #25
    Registered User sean9008's Avatar
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    Another sort of precaution

    Originally Posted by km2013 View Post
    Thanks for the advice.
    I have a quick precautional question: i am new to this site and decided to order 300$ of products, but the site e-mails me and asks me for more information on my credit card and address and such to make sure it is all valid and everything. I answer their questions and they continue to send me another e-mail saying they want me to fax them a copy of both sides of my credit card as well as a government issued identification. I am skeptic about doing so with all the latest identity theft scams and whatnot, although if i do not do so i will not get my 300$ worth of supplements.

    Can anyone reassure me and tell me that this site is trustworthy, or that someone has had this same scenario and it was ok.

    Thanks!

  26. #26
    Seriously ? fitnfirm's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sean9008 View Post
    I have a quick precautional question: i am new to this site and decided to order 300$ of products, but the site e-mails me and asks me for more information on my credit card and address and such to make sure it is all valid and everything. I answer their questions and they continue to send me another e-mail saying they want me to fax them a copy of both sides of my credit card as well as a government issued identification. I am skeptic about doing so with all the latest identity theft scams and whatnot, although if i do not do so i will not get my 300$ worth of supplements.

    Can anyone reassure me and tell me that this site is trustworthy, or that someone has had this same scenario and it was ok.

    Thanks!
    bb.com will do this if its over a certain amount and you have never ordered and if it is for overseas.

  27. #27
    Registered User infectedcalf's Avatar
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    very useful. TY

  28. #28
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    Ultra-thanks

  29. #29
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    lol

    i hate spam
    Originally Posted by user98511001541 View Post
    I noticed a huge increase of spam when i became a rep and put my email in my sig... was too lazy to anything about it

    nice thread
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  30. #30
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    Originally Posted by pogue View Post
    Don't put your plain email address in your signature or anywhere else for that matter, it always needs to be obfuscated (hidden, changed) so that spambots can't read it.
    That is a very good point. If you're trying to put your email in your signature, just put it like this:

    anonymoususername <space> emailservice provider <space> com
    anonymoususername <at> emailservice provider <dot> net

    i mean write it like that, and no put the symbols for @ or . and it should not get read by the spammers programs.

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