Is it management or is it phishing?

Dan Strassberg
Sat Oct 16 16:18:21 EDT 2004

As many of you know, I am a frequent poster at, as are
several other members of this list. This morning, after writing and editing
a posting for the Boston board, I clicked on "Continue," expecting to see
the final review copy of my posting. Instead, I was presented with a LONG
questionnaire in which most questions were preceded by a red "greater-than"
symbol, indicating that answers were required. At the top was a statement
that my user profile was incomplete and at least a suggestion that
radio-info needed more complete info on me if I was to be allowed to
continue submitting postings. One of the questions requested my birthdate
(month and date only--no year). Even without the year, however, my antennae
went up. This is the kind of information that can be (and often is) used in
identity theft. So, without clicking on "Submit," I shut down the browser
and the PC.

This afternoon I returned to radio-info, expecting not to find my latest
posting because I had failed to submit the questionnaire. I was surprised to
find the posting. So I went to the "Ask Radio-Info" sub-board with the
intention of submitting a posting similar to this one asking whether the
questionnaire originated with management or whether someone
with malicious intent had hacked the board and inserted a phishing page for
the purpose of gathering users' personal information. This time, after
entering my posting and clicking on "continue," I was greeted with a
404--Not Found page, after which I could no longer find the posting I had
just finished writing.

In my posting, I had suggested that, if the site managwement was indeed
responsible for the questionnaire, they should review the questions to see
whether all of them are really necessary and that, if indeed, the site
management is intent on gathering more complete information on users, they
should post a notice where all users of the site are likely to see it
warning that posters can expect to have to fill out this questionnaire.
After this morning's experience, I looked around the site for such a notice
and could not find one. In today's Web environment, users have every reason
to be suspicious. Sites that ask too many questions will turn away their
users and find themselves with no reason for existence.

Dan Strassberg,
eFax 707-215-6367

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