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Monster.com identity theft? Spam?
November 18, 2011 6:04 AM   Subscribe

Yesterday, someone apparently signed me up for monster.com, beyond.com, and jobfox.com. I know this because I received welcome emails from all three of them to my primary mail address and under my name. As far as I know, my primary mail address has not been compromised. What is going on here?
posted by fake to Computers & Internet (36 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have a common name that's also my gmail handle. I use Common.Name@gmail.com but someone with a similar name has a bunch of friends who think her email address is CommonName@gmail.com. It isn't because but that doesn't stop me from getting a bunch of her correspondence. Could that be happening to you?
posted by thewestinggame at 6:07 AM on November 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think there would be any benefit to stealing your identity through employment sites (they don't post personal info), so I doubt it's that. This puts me in mind of an episode of the Office where Jim signs Dwight up for a series of interviews to get him to leave.

Do you have a busybody in your life trying to get you employed/change your job? This could be their passive-aggressive way of getting you to get some interviews.
posted by marcin_zissou at 6:08 AM on November 18, 2011


Is it possible that someone thinks they are using a fake email address to sign up, but it's really your email address? For example, I'm pretty sure that some has bob@bob.com. I'm also guessing that people use this as a throwaway sometimes, hoping that there's no verification link they'll have to click on.
posted by SpacemanStix at 6:08 AM on November 18, 2011


I have a not so common last name and I use name.notcommon@gmail.com, but I still get some strange marketing email that are intended for namenotcommon@gmail.com and they appear to be for a guy in KY. I looked up on zabasearch and sure enough there is a dude with my name in KY (or maybe I have his name, who knows). I think he must be typing challenged and puts a . in the email from time to time when filling out his address on forms... who knows.

But yes, it happens to me and I am not a common name.
posted by LeanGreen at 6:10 AM on November 18, 2011


I don't know about monster, beyond and jobfox, but when this kind of thing happens to me it's because whatever irritating website is involved has a "feature" where you can upload your address book and have the site spam everybody in it with invitations, which some clueless goose in possession of my email address has just chosen to exercise.
posted by flabdablet at 6:13 AM on November 18, 2011


I get this kind of thing happening to me all the time and my email isn't even that simple. For the ones where a transaction takes place (like someone places an order and uses my email for confirmation) I email customer support and they take care of it. For something like this I would go in, change the password (because they will usually send the password reset to the e-mail address) and forget about it. Next time the person goes in to log-in they will realize their mistake because they won't be able to access the account anymore.
posted by like_neon at 6:15 AM on November 18, 2011


just FYI:

royal.song@gmail.com and royalsong@gmail.com are the same thing to Google. They'll funnel all mail sent to royalsong@gmail.com to royal.song@gmail.com.

Someone is just plain old spelling their email address wrong.
posted by royalsong at 6:15 AM on November 18, 2011


By the way: experts.exchange@gmail.com, expertsexchange@gmail.com and expert.sex.change@gmail.com are the same address as far as Gmail is concerned.
posted by flabdablet at 6:16 AM on November 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


UPDATE: I was able to change the password through my email account.

I went digging through the Monster profile and they posted a copy of my resume and a fair amount of personal information.

This is not a mistaken email address.
posted by fake at 6:17 AM on November 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Whoa. Sleep job-hunting?

Do you have that information posted anywhere public?
posted by supercres at 6:18 AM on November 18, 2011


Could they be data mining Facebook?
posted by flabdablet at 6:18 AM on November 18, 2011


Ok then that is just WEIRD and akin to that The Office plot marcin_zissou described.

How personal is that personal information? If it's pretty detailed, there cannot be that many suspects?
posted by like_neon at 6:19 AM on November 18, 2011


Some of it is pretty personal, some of it is copy-pasta from my site (where my resume is posted) and some of it is incorrect (as in setting my address to LAX).

Signup emails were from 10pm last night.
posted by fake at 6:21 AM on November 18, 2011


Also:

As far as I know, my primary mail address has not been compromised.

How far do you know?

Is your POP3/IMAP/Gmail/whatever password at least 12 characters of machine-generated random gibberish? If not, I suspect you might not know quite far enough.
posted by flabdablet at 6:21 AM on November 18, 2011


My password is over 30 characters of gibberish, and I recently changed it, and the confirmation emails were not used/verification links not clicked.
posted by fake at 6:26 AM on November 18, 2011


According to Monster support, it is possible to upload a resume and set up info during the account creation process, which does not require clicking the verification link in email.

Unfortunately they have almost no information - no account creation IP, etc.

I know someone could have had access to my gmail account and clicked "mark as unread" after clicking the verification link, but that seems highly unlikely, as they could have just deleted all of it and I wouldn't have seen any of it.

Of course I am going to change my password regardless, but that doesn't seem to be the vector.
posted by fake at 6:30 AM on November 18, 2011


Have you done anything to make anyone angry? It could be some sort of evil twin social network attack that has failed.
posted by ollyollyoxenfree at 6:30 AM on November 18, 2011


Hard to say - this is the Internet, after all. Weirder and weirder. Monster.com tech support lady claims no affiliation with beyond.com or jobfox.com.
posted by fake at 6:31 AM on November 18, 2011


Is it possible that some well meaning person thinks you need a new job? Parents? Spouse? Sibling? I search for jobs on behalf of my SO quite often, although I've never done this.
posted by dpx.mfx at 6:35 AM on November 18, 2011


I know someone could have had access to my gmail account and clicked "mark as unread" after clicking the verification link, but that seems highly unlikely, as they could have just deleted all of it and I wouldn't have seen any of it.

Down at the bottom of your Gmail inbox there's a link for account activity (by IP address) that would show you if anyone was doing this.
posted by bcwinters at 6:37 AM on November 18, 2011


It is possible but highly unlikely. I've called my family and it is definitely not one of them.


Down at the bottom of your Gmail inbox there's a link for account activity (by IP address) that would show you if anyone was doing this.


Ahh, thank you, had forgotten about that. No unusual activity.
posted by fake at 6:38 AM on November 18, 2011


Interesting, inside your preferences in Monster there is a "validate email address" button, which lasts until you validate with the email link. So my email was not compromised.
posted by fake at 6:39 AM on November 18, 2011


According to Monster support, it is possible to upload a resume and set up info during the account creation process, which does not require clicking the verification link in email.

Well, there you go then. Somebody else has created a Monster account for you.

How many mad people do you know? I did this kind of thing to ms. flabdablet before we were married, while in the grip of a psychotic episode.

On the upside, she's still using that Yahoo address.
posted by flabdablet at 6:45 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, there you go then. Somebody else has created a Monster account for you.


Dude, seriously, I said that in the post. And accounts on two other sites - and I'm discovering more. And the information across them is not all consistent, and the motive is not clear.

It's fine to say the answer is "crazy person" but there's an equally good chance that there is something else going on here, so I'm interested in hearing about it.
posted by fake at 6:50 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


You haven't signed-up with a headhunter or anything? I could see a less-than-reputable headhunter doing something like this.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:53 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nope- not seeking employment at the moment, and have never used one.
posted by fake at 7:02 AM on November 18, 2011


I wonder if somebody is testing an auto-create jobsite account app by grabbing data off the web, and they chose you. Presumably your resume had your email address on it, which is all they would need to create an account.
posted by COD at 7:07 AM on November 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


The account creations were 10:03, 10:15, and 12:01, not all at the same moment, so that is possible but I would expect a script to be hammering away all at once.

Still, your point that my email being available makes this possible is a good one.
posted by fake at 7:17 AM on November 18, 2011


@cod, I thought something like that as well. I went and did a wide search of pastebin sites for fake's email off his mefi profile (I assume that is the same one?), in the off chance that someone, or an algorithm, had dumped his info somewhere else. In the interest of reporting negative results, here are the searches (1, 2, 3, 4). I also tried "reetz" with nothing interesting either.
posted by ollyollyoxenfree at 7:22 AM on November 18, 2011


I'd guess that there's some sort of pay-for-signups deal out there -- maybe "sign up for X deals and get Y friends to do the same! -- and you were an easy target with your information out there.
posted by supercres at 7:29 AM on November 18, 2011


If this happens to you:

Go to each site and use the "password reset" functionality. If it was set up with your email account, you can use that to gain access to the account. Jobfox actually sent me the password that this person signed up with. It did not look automatically generated.

Screenshot everything.

On Monster, you can change/delete everything including your name.

On Beyond, the process is more difficult, so call customer support after changing your personal info.

On Jobfox, don't bother with customer support (listed below). Just delete using the online interface.

1. Call Monster support at 8006667837, they will change your password or deactivate your account.

2. Call Beyond support at 6108782800. They will change your password or deactivate your account. Also, even if your account is deactivated, they will still send you job related spam. The representative can disable these "alerts" as well.

3. Call JobFox support at 7037480162 and press 1. Their phone system is fucking impenetrable. Press 1,1 and ignore the prompts about premium service to get to a rep. The rep will claim to forward you several times but actually just hang up the call. Get frustrated and delete your account using the web interface.

None of these account reps were able to tell me the signup IP address or other useful information, so just use them to securely delete your stuff.
posted by fake at 7:32 AM on November 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


(I assume that is the same one?)

yep.

Pay for signups sounds reasonable.
posted by fake at 7:32 AM on November 18, 2011


I once had a coworker who fancied himself a wit who signed me up for a bunch of things with my work email address after we had a minor dispute. It was related to putting me on a bunch of cooking websites after we had disagreed (civilly!) about whether or not german chocolate cake was worth the trouble of making. He was crazy.

Can you remember having any discussions with people in the last day or so that might be relevant?
posted by winna at 10:45 AM on November 18, 2011


Perhaps someone is operating a half baked plan to steal your identity to land consulting gigs? Or maybe a graduate school program coordinator trying to up their placement numbers? Upset girlfriend of the bro who's couch you're crashing on? Did you upset an anti-OWS person and this is their way of telling you to get a real job? Or maybe inform you that you have too much time on your hands?

I once had a malicious person subscribe me to around a hundred listservs. Most of them were easily unsubscribed, but a few were superbly fucked up and required a password you cannot recover by email. They didn't bother entering in my personal information, it was mostly random strings. I mention it mainly to suggest that really malicious actors behave a bit differently than what we're observing.
posted by pwnguin at 4:49 PM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


My vote is someone who knows you, and is doing this purely to annoy you --- the old-school version is to sign you up for weird magazines; in its eviler form, they'd order merchandise that's pay-on-delivery.
posted by easily confused at 5:14 PM on November 18, 2011


It's fine to say the answer is "crazy person" but there's an equally good chance that there is something else going on here, so I'm interested in hearing about it.

Nothing else seems as plausible as crazy person, though, which doesn't even require the person to be that crazy. This is actually pretty standard, low-level online harassment. The three big ones are a) porn site signups, b) fake Facebook profiles, c) endless job site signups.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:39 AM on November 19, 2011


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