Contact Form Spam

On each of my sites, I have some sort of contact form. On my Freeway sites, they’re based on Tim’s PHP Feedback Form, on my one WP site, it’s uh, I don’t know, probably some WP plugin I found.

It seems that at least once a day, I’m getting someone filling out one of these forms to try to sell me something. Lots of times, they’re in Russian or some similar-looking language. The WP form has a Captcha, so I guess they’re doing that, too. IOW, there’s some human going through the effort to do this each time.

A couple of times, the IP addresses were the same, but plenty of times, they are not.

Aside from taking the forms down, is there anything I can do to stop this? Or can I take the forms down and replace them with a way that I can let real people contact me if they need to without using a form?


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This is a running battle or arms race, I’m afraid. Even the I Am Not A Robot CAPTCHA fails against the “Room full of poorly-paid bored people” attack. I’m a big fan of the hidden honeypot form element for catching the automated attacks, but what I suspect may be happening in some of the more egregious attacks is that a human solves the form once, and this is recorded and played back by the bot for maximum annoyance.

I suspect they are not actually trying to sell you things through your contacts form, but rather mistaking it for a comments form (where they could get their links into public view and raise their google mojo accordingly).

Walter

On Aug 12, 2018, at 7:13 AM, Joe Muscara email@hidden wrote:

On each of my sites, I have some sort of contact form. On my Freeway sites, they’re based on Tim’s PHP Feedback Form, on my one WP site, it’s uh, I don’t know, probably some WP plugin I found.

It seems that at least once a day, I’m getting someone filling out one of these forms to try to sell me something. Lots of times, they’re in Russian or some similar-looking language. The WP form has a Captcha, so I guess they’re doing that, too. IOW, there’s some human going through the effort to do this each time.

A couple of times, the IP addresses were the same, but plenty of times, they are not.

Aside from taking the forms down, is there anything I can do to stop this? Or can I take the forms down and replace them with a way that I can let real people contact me if they need to without using a form?


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I was afraid you/someone would say that. I’m pretty sure there are no bots here, just the “poorly-paid bored people” you reference. And what you say about them thinking it’s a comments form instead of a contact form makes sense too. Looking back, almost all the submissions include the same link several times.

Sigh,

Joe

On 13 Aug 2018, 12:50 pm, waltd wrote:

This is a running battle or arms race, I’m afraid. Even the I Am Not A Robot CAPTCHA fails against the “Room full of poorly-paid bored people” attack. I’m a big fan of the hidden honeypot form element for catching the automated attacks, but what I suspect may be happening in some of the more egregious attacks is that a human solves the form once, and this is recorded and played back by the bot for maximum annoyance.

I suspect they are not actually trying to sell you things through your contacts form, but rather mistaking it for a comments form (where they could get their links into public view and raise their google mojo accordingly).


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On 13/08/18 14:55, Joe Muscara wrote:

I was afraid you/someone would say that. I’m pretty sure there are no bots here, just the “poorly-paid bored people” you reference. And what you say about them thinking it’s a comments form instead of a contact form makes sense too. Looking back, almost all the submissions include the same link several times.

Sigh,

Joe

On 13 Aug 2018, 12:50 pm, waltd wrote:

This is a running battle or arms race, I’m afraid. Even the I Am Not A Robot CAPTCHA fails against the “Room full of poorly-paid bored people” attack. I’m a big fan of the hidden honeypot form element for catching the automated attacks, but what I suspect may be happening in some of the more egregious attacks is that a human solves the form once, and this is recorded and played back by the bot for maximum annoyance.

I suspect they are not actually trying to sell you things through your contacts form, but rather mistaking it for a comments form (where they could get their links into public view and raise their google mojo accordingly).

Just like the ‘my assignment help’ things in OffTopic.

David


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I finally got around to doing it. I removed the contact forms from my sites that were getting junked. No One had ever used them to contact me to hire me (for web gigs nor music gigs) anyway.

The one time I got a remotely interesting email was when someone anonymously (coward) accused me of airbrushing facial hair onto one of my pics on joestone.rocks. It was the one on the Contact page, actually. What really happened was that I lightened everything else in the photo and I was standing in a semi-shady spot so some shadows from the plants had fallen on my face. Removing the plants made that less obvious but I didn’t realize it until this character told me. I didn’t change it, though.


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