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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » A tangled web we weave... » » Online magic store, possible theft/selling of customer data (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

volz0r
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Galena, IL
34 Posts

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I do not wish to defame this particular online store. I do not know by what means this happened -- Whether their customer email addresses were sold, or stolen, I have no way of knowing.

What I do know, is that my email address is now in the hands of spammers. The kind of spammers who sell nefarious products, and try to get you give them bank details ("phishing"), etc.

You may ask how I know that my email address was obtained from this particular vendor, and not from some other vendor, or by means of an infected computer.

My primary source of income is development of messaging solution software. This includes development and maintenance of email server software. As such, my own personal email configuration allows me to generate unique IDs for particular sites.
Short of more technical details, you'll just need to trust me that there's no way this email address was guessed, or obtained from my servers.

If you are a customer of this particular site, and do not wish to take my word for it, I would simply suggest you take what I've said and consider it when dealing with said company.

I have not been very active on Magic Café for quite some time, as my time has been extremely limited by work, but when trying to determine how to get the word out, this is the first place I thought of.

Again, I am not saying that this site has sold their customer database, but it definitely has come into the hands of spammers. It does not look like personal details have been obtained, so this leads me to believe that it was done purposefully. What I mean by this, is that if hackers stole the data, they'd definitely abuse the personal details associated with the account, such as names and addresses, where-as, if a company sold their customer database details, they would never give out these details because they'd be legally responsible.

I emailed the site letting them know about a month ago, and I never received a
response from them. If I was said company, and a member had emailed me about something so critical, I would have made sure a response of some type was sent.

Site: penguinmagic

Administrators of this site, if you decide that this material is too off-topic, or is not allowed by forum rules, I respectfully accept any moderation that occurs.
gaddy
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Inner circle
Agent of Chaos
3245 Posts

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So, a unique email, almost certainly unguessable, used only for interactions with Penguin, is now in the hands of spammers?

It's hard to draw any other conclusion. This is a very interesting post.
*due to The Magic Cafe's editorial policies, words on this site attributed to me cannot necessarily be held to be my own.*
edh
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4698 Posts

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Thanks for the heads up. This is all about "Magicians Helping Magicians", if this thread gets deleted it would be a blow this motto.

Thanks again!
Magic is a vanishing art.
Acar
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Profile of Acar
Hi volz0r,

Acar from Penguin here. First off, I want to clarify that we do not sell or release our customer information in any way.

And I'm sorry to say this was not brought to my attention if you contacted us before.

That said, I'm very curious about the details of your concern. Can you please contact me at acar@penguinmagic.com to discuss?

Acar
Acar
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Volz0r,

Just an update: We try to respond to *every* email within 24 hours so I was surprised to hear we didn't take your concern more seriously. I just looked into it and sure enough, your email was filed into spam by gmail. Sorry for not getting back to you sooner!

Acar
frankjohnson
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Volzer, spammers guess email addresses all the time. If you are a spammer why would you bother trying to obtain a list of email addresses when you could just make up millions of likely email addresses for free.

My suggestion to you: GET A GMAIL ACCOUNT. I have had Gmail for a while now and spam is simply not a problem. They have a really good filter and so it's just not a problem.
volz0r
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Galena, IL
34 Posts

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Frankjohnson, I think you may be misunderstanding what I said.
volz0r
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Galena, IL
34 Posts

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Acar, I appreciate your quick response, and I apologize that it had to occur here.
As you no doubt see in the original email I sent you, I meant to notify you of a possible issue. If you'd like to contact me off-forum, at the address on my account, feel free to do so, however my only real aim in emailing you at the time was the notification.
Acar
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Will do.
frankjohnson
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Volzor, I don't think I misunderstood. It is cheaper and easier for spammers to just guess email addresses than it is for them to "harvest" them. If the address you are using is very unusual -- even one in a million -- then it's probably being guessed by spammers about 10 times every single day.

Suppose you make up an address like dennis23424@aol.com ... spammers know that people use addresses like that so they just generate every possible address with a name and a bunch of numbers after it. Then they just send email to every single address they generated, without caring whether or not it actually exists.
volz0r
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Galena, IL
34 Posts

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Frank, I appreciate your input, however your assumptions about what spammers do, and don't do, are quite incorrect.

This conversation is very off topic.
frankjohnson
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Volzer, I respectfully disagree that my assertions about what spammers do are incorrect. But don't take my word for it, you can check the Wikipedia entry about spam (which mentions the practice of generating random emails) as well as this article:

http://news.cnet.com/2100-1023-206633.html

Also, I should mention to you (and to anyone else who gets spam) that when you use a gmail address (which is free) you will not get spam anymore. Google has solved the spam problem and I just do not get spam even though my email address has been posted in discussion forums and is not hard to guess.

If I had to guess why you are getting spam, I'd guess that it's either because a spammer guessed your email address or because there is some sort of malware on your computer. Malware is commonly distributed from Pornogfy sites and illegal downloads. I suggest you get an antivirus program and scan your computer immediately.

If you are using Yahoo, AOL, MSN, Hotmail or most other email providers, you WILL get lots of spam because they just don't have working spam filters.]

Best of luck to you in solving your computer trouble.
volz0r
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Galena, IL
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Frank, again, I appreciate your input, but you may have me confused with someone who reads cnet.com for information on technical issues.

As this is not a forum related to computer technical issues, I will not carry on this conversation with you.
frankjohnson
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Volzer: Isn't the subject of spam (which this topic is about) a technical issue?

You mentioned that you work in an area that pertains to email. Are you sure that the purpose of this thread wasn't to somehow advertise your own product or company? If so that is very inappropriate and a shameful violation of forum etiquette.

I respectfully end this discussion with you and will not respond to any further comments or remarks that you make. I hope that if anyone reading this forum gets spam emails that you consider getting Gmail and saving yourself the frustration, and I hope that VOlzer gets an antivirus scan on his computer before anything worse happens.
volz0r
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Galena, IL
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*sigh*

I did not mention my company, so it's obviously not a plug for my company. In the first post, I stated what I do, so that I didn't have people like you trying to tell me to get a gmail account. It was an attempt to show a certain amount of technical experience, without going into detail about my company -- to avoid what you're claiming I might be doing.

To be perfectly honest, you telling me to scan my computer for viruses is like your grandmother telling you about this new fangled 'mouse thing' she bought at RadioShack, or about this new website "everyone's reading" called cnet.com.

That is the nicest way I can describe how inaccurate, and outdated, your experience is. If you'd like more detail about why you're incorrect, please message me privately.
m.ruetz
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Peoria Arizona, USA
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Th article referenced was from 1997 - over 12 years ago. To say a lot has changed in that time, would be a bit understated. I would assume the random shot gun approach has been killed by ISPs by metering e-mails (putting a maximum on how many per hour) which may not have been in place in 1997 to the extent it is today.
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