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Warning! Impersonation Spam Attack On Medium (With FAQ and Examples)

  • 5 min read

When Elon Musk comments or Top Writer share their WhatsApp numbers, it’s wack.

It is really kind of frightening that someone can even do that.

It freaked me out and made me feel so vulnerable.

What happened?

A few weeks ago, I’ve informed my readers that there’s an impersonation spam attack on Medium.

Apparently, it struck a chord because my short story received over 100 comments.

What‘s an impersonation spam attack?

Someone stole my identity and misused it.

An account left several comments using my name, avatar and bio.

Crypto spam attack

People replied to “my” comments wondering why I would post Crypto news.

It just wasn’t my authentic presence on Medium.

It was a fake account.

Luckily Medium suspended the violating account soon after I and several other writers reported it

The last email from Medium’s Trust & Safety said:

These are only impersonation accounts, and the original accounts have not been compromised.”

So this could happen to everyone.

I went through the over 100 comments my story received and I saw that several other writers and readers were experiencing some sort of impersonation spam attack too.

For instance, Jenn Leach’s ID was stolen too.

But here are also some other crazy and bizarre examples:

When Elon Musk comments…

Ashley Treadwell informed us that she had Elon Musk comment:

Elon Musk

Here’s Elon Musk’s comment:

Crypto spam attack

As Patty McMahon, M.Ed shared:

Was excited for half a second, but then was like naw this is wack.

When Obama leaves a comment…

This one is trickier.

Diane Egan received this comment:

Barack Obama spam

When Diane saw that Barack Obama replied to her comment, she felt excited.

His reply bruised her ego. She was thrilled.

But when she clicked on his reply she was shocked.

Barak obama spam

When Medium’s Top Writers share their WhatsApp numbers and offer a “wonderful” opportunity

If you receive a comment by one of your favorite writers, be skeptical:

There are two very popular writers on here that I read and often comment on their posts. Occasionally they will clap and/or comment on my response.

Within the space of a month both of them replied with a message with a WhatsApp number saying that they had a “wonderful” opportunity for me. To say that it kinda freaked me out would be an understatement.

I should have reported it but did not. An Ethereal Girl In A Material World

Don’t call the number!

Don’t click on the WhatsApp link!

How can we check if someone has used our account and profile?

Looking up your name on Medium should help reveal any imposters.

Just search for your name.

search Medium

Where do we report fake comments?

Please report any impersonation spam you see right now.

Click on the “…” (three-dot-menu) in the footer of the story or…

… at the top-right of the violating account/comment and choose “REPORT THIS RESPONSE”.

Report

How could Medium fix the issue?

There are a lot of new writers I talked to who say that they’ve gotten a ridiculous amount of spam comments.

They wish Medium would do more about it.

Although I know it’s easier said than done, here are two potential ways to fix the issue:

1 — Verification badge

Added layers of security really need to be given a level of importance on this platform.

My recommendation is to implement a verified identity check.

This could be a verification badge you might already know from Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

identification badge

An identity verification system for everyone (personal and business accounts as well as pen name accounts).

2 —Anti-Spam Software such as SpamAssassin

Dave Coker says:

The fix is trivial.

He recommended an open-source tool called SpamAssassin:

“SpamAssassin is the #1 Open Source anti-spam platform giving system administrators a filter to classify email and block spam (unsolicited bulk email).”

I asked my hubby and software developer Patrick God about SpamAssassin. He said he’d never heard about it.

“However, Medium definitely needs some type of protection software”, he adds.

Do you have another recommendation?

Final Takeaways

What’s the world coming to when even the Goddess’s identity is at risk? MN wondered.

Joking aside, being a victim of identity on Medium is both — scary and sad.

An impersonation spam attack could happen to you, too.

You’re not alone in this. Report the comment and account!

For many of us, spam attacks are just a no go and Medium has to find a solution for it to make Medium a place safe and secure.

❌What do you think about the spam attack?

© Kristina God

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