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Now on Twitter: a spammer's paradise

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Jake Turcotte

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Twitter is great for lots of fun stuff – like finding delicious Korean Barbecue, tracking down stolen bicycles, and keeping up with your favorite quasi-celebrity.

But exposing your email address to spammers? Not so fun. Yet that's what some people are unwittingly doing on the microblogging site.

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As Chris Crum over at WebProNews explains, the mistake comes when twitterers send out an email address in an appeal to followers to contact them about an event or question. It seems innocuous enough, but with Twitter's live search feature, a spammer with a script – or even just a search string looking for "email me at" – is like shooting fish in a barrel.

"The ability to search for email addresses has always existed on search engines like Google, but Twitter and its real-time updates brings a whole new element to the matter," Crum writes. "They come in fast, and they're always going to be up to date. This is why it could be enticing for spammers."

It seems like common sense (just like Dow Jones' recent employee memo instructing reporters not to "friend" confidential sources on Facebook), but the best way for twitterers to avoid being their own worst in-box enemy – Oprah fans, I'm talking to you – is not to send out email addresses over Twitter.


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