Yahoo Messenger pop-ups?
April 15, 2007 10:46 AM   Subscribe

What are the implications of and best response to unsolicited Yahoo Messenger pop-up messages?

I get pop-up messages from Yahoo Messenger instant messaging service (or was it Hotmail?) asking for permission for others to see me online, to be
"visible" while I am online. How do these people get my contact information. Would I in any way compromise my security if I allow them to do this? What
sort of contact does it permit and how could I find out more about these people and their contacts before I reply (like they seem to be doing and what do they know about me??)
posted by kapec to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
First, try to figure out if you know them. Never accept the offer outright.

Nothing good can come of someone you don't know and trust knowing when you're active at your computer. I think you should ignore it. Pretend that you never saw the request.
posted by cmiller at 11:11 AM on April 15, 2007

Is this request coming from yahoo (or hotmail) itself, or another user. It could be that yahoo is trying to make its messenger space more populous by having more people appear online. Surely another user wouldn't be asking you to show yourself if they don't even know your're there?
posted by philomathoholic at 11:24 AM on April 15, 2007

The pop-ups have been from users (and not from a company) because I see unique userid's attached. There was no indication that the user knew me--just "be visible for me".
posted by kapec at 11:47 AM on April 15, 2007

In that case, I'd say ignore them. If I remember correctly, when I was on messenger for a bit, there were some users with clearly feminine names that were suggesting I check out a website/product. I was at first interested that some ladies might be interested in me, but cold reason soon took over. I decided it was a form of spam and that they must be getting my info by just blasting out a bunch of IM or some other brute force method.

Maybe you have the same problem?
posted by philomathoholic at 12:21 PM on April 15, 2007

If you don't know them or recognize the ID just ignore them. Don't even respond. I suppose if you're really curious you could see if the ID is attached to some visible public profile. I think the occasional or even more than occasional random person wanting to be your friend is part of the IM game.

As for finding you in the first place, I don't know the direct link but sign on to Yahoo mail ( click Options in the upper right, then click Account Information in the Options menu bar on the left. You'll likely be prompted for your password.

Then look under the Public Information on the right of the screen. You can select edit/create profiles to see if you have a public profile. Also check to see if you you're listed on Yahoo People Search. As an aside I uncheck all the boxes under marketing preferences as well. Anyway, removing public profiles and people search should make the random messages less likely.

To find more information on the user in question go here:, replacing example_username with the name on the message. If they have a visible profile you'll see it.
posted by 6550 at 12:28 PM on April 15, 2007

I am looking at "Options", but don't see anything like "Public Information" on the right of the screen. The columns, from right to left, read: Premium Services; Management; and Spam. I don't see anything like what you mentioned. I looked myself up in the and found my sex and date of joining were filled in and that's all. This is a useful URL.
posted by kapec at 3:04 PM on April 15, 2007

Once you click on Options you hopefully will see something to the left of Premium Services, Management, and Spam, in a vertical menu:

Address Book
Account Information

Select Account Information, where you'll be prompted for a password. Then you'll come to a page called Yahoo Account Information.

Once you are on that page on the right you should see Public Information, including Edit/Create Profiles and Yahoo People Search. Select Edit/Create Profiles and delete any profiles available. Also make sure you don't have a listing on People Search.

If you need me to take screenshots let me know and I will.
posted by 6550 at 11:39 PM on April 15, 2007

I used to get those when I used the Windows version but I don't now that I use the Mac version.

I have no idea why that is so. Very likely a coincidence.

But when I was getting pop-ups/etc, they were almost always spam or weirdos in foreign countries asking for money.

They probably don't know the first thing about you.
posted by drstein at 3:06 PM on April 16, 2007

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