June 19, 2021   9:22am

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Beware! Sites that hijack your email directory!

Some of those alluring sites out there may just take your email directory when you sign-up …

For us, it’s usually a simple “delete” — that takes care of e-mail from sites we don’t recognize (that is, until they become too big to ignore… i.e. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn).

Beware of spam e-mails from these sites pointed to in the article, “Typing In an E-Mail Address, and Giving Up Your Friends’ Too,” from The New York Times. Wanna-be Flickr and Snapfish sites are on the prowl, and they’re targeting your address book!

“I Thought it was a little strange when I received separate e-mail messages from two people I knew only slightly asking me to click and see their photos on a social networking site called Tagged. I ignored them at first, but then thought maybe I should check it out. After all, I should keep up on what’s hot in the social networking world, right? This could be the new Twitter,” says writer Alina Tugend. “That’s when I started doing everything wrong. I obligingly typed in my e-mail address and a password to see those photos. Well, the photos didn’t exist, but I had unwittingly given the site ‘permission’ to go through my entire e-mail contact list and send a message to everyone, inviting them to see my ‘photos.'”

How embarrassing.

According the article, “this is generally called contact scraping. Once you enter your credentials, like your user name or password, the company sweeps through your contact list and sends everyone an invitation to join the site,” which may be in violation of the federal anti-spamming law “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act” (aka Can-Spam).

Other sites mentioned that are scraping your address book are MyLife.com and Desktopdating.net. So be on the lookout!

To avoid such contact scraping the article warns you — don’t give third party sites your e-mail and password information, and also, don’t use the same user names and passwords on different sites. To help remember all those passwords, they recommend using 1Password, Sxipper, Keychain or Firefox Password Manager.

This actually happened to us just last week — when a friend called to be sure my husband really emailed him … and, on another occasion,  I thought it was pretty suspicious when my email box contained a very personal email from someone I barely know!

Be safe out there!

Harriett@snoety.com and Modesta


The New York Times, “Typing In an E-Mail Address, and Giving Up Your Friends’ As Well,” Alina Tugend, June 19, 2009

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