Fanbox.com Uses Members To SpamWritten by Sue Walsh on August 11, 2009
I recently began getting a lot of spam from Fanbox.com. The messages had subject lines like “Something For You” and “I Sent a Gift To You”, and the sender was someone I don’t know. The messages claimed that this person had send me a gift using an application called “Flower Fans” or that they had set up a 10GB email account for me on the system. Ironically it bills it as “world’s first spam-free email”.
It turns out that Fanbox is a website that claims to be your “virtual PC”. It also offers some type of blogging service where they charge users to receive blog posts via text message and give the blogger part of the fee. To sign up they demand your cell phone number to “verify your identity”. Big red flag. I did some research and found out that they also ask for your email username and password. They claim they need this because their “virtual PC” service manages your email for you.
If it all sounds rather suspicious to you, it should. It’s a scam. The service tricks people into giving up their email addresses, passwords and cell phone numbers and then spams them relentlessly. Not only that but they spam everyone in their contact lists. The spam messages have “to stop receiving emails click here” links but they don’t do a thing. Instead they just let Fanbox know that your email address is live.
Fanbox is run by the former SMS.ac, a shady company that claims to be an online community that exists via text messaging only. It’s been the subject of many user complaints regarding deceptive billing practices and was fined and banned from operating reverse-billed services in the UK for operating misleading SMS services.
They’ve now turned to a web based service and are flooding the web with spam. They make their money by getting people to subscribe to SMS-based blogs, and also send other premium SMS messages. Users are charged a per message fee and unsubscribing is near impossible. Avoid both sites and ignore any emails you get from them. If the senders are people you know, notify them that they are being used to spam by the company.
If you’ve been spammed by this company or got tricked into giving them your personal information, please leave us a comment and share your experience!