A quick heads-up! While I’ve routinely seen these from time to time, there seems to be a major uptick in what are apparently fraudulent comment scam attempts here on my blog. They never get published since I must approve all comments before any appear, but their form is interesting and there likely is at least some human element involved, since they’re able to pass the reCAPTCHA “Are you a human?” test.
Here’s how the scams operate. It’s typical for blogs that support comments (whether moderated or not) to often permit the sender to include their name, email address, and a contact URL with their comment submission. My blog only will display their specified name, and of course only if I approve the comment.
But many blogs include all of that information in the posted comments, and many blogs don’t moderate comments, or only do so after the fact if there are complaints about individual published comments.
The scam comments themselves tend to fall into one of two categories. They may be utterly generic, e.g.: “Thanks for this great and useful post!”
Or they may be much more sophisticated, and actually refer in a more or less meaningful way — sometimes in surprising detail — to the actual topic of the original post.
The email addresses provided with the comments could be pretty much anything. What matters is the URLs that the comment authors provide and that they hope you will publish: The scammers always provide URLs pointing at various fake “technical support” addresses.
These cover the gamut: Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Outlook — and many more.
And you never want to click on those links, which almost inevitably lead to the kind of fake technical support sites that routinely scam unsuspecting users out of vast sums around the world every day.
It’s possible that these scam comment attempts are made in bulk by humans somewhere being paid a couple of cents per effort. Or perhaps they’re partly human (to solve the reCAPTCHA), and partly machine-generated.
In any case, if you run a blog, or some other public-facing site where comments might be submitted, watch out for these. Don’t let them appear on your sites! Your legitimate users will thank you.