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18. A Question From a Friend?
Why simply send an e-mail when you can involved a 3rd party Website?
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A Question From a Friend?

We recently received an e-mail advising that a friend had asked a question. The question was coming not from him but through a service called FanBox. That seems rather odd since he could have just mailed us a letter.

As with services such as Buddy2Buddy and MyDailyFlog, this one seems to be using trickery to gain access to your e-mail list. In the text that follows some information has been replaced by text in <brackets> either for clarity or for privacy.

Subject: <friend> has asked you a question Question_It
From: <QuestionIts99@fanboxmail.com>

<friend> asked you a question. View the question and answer it.

A few days later this e-mail arrived.

Subject: <friend> is waiting for your answer "QuestionIt99@fanboxmail.com"
From: <QuestionIt99@fanboxmail.com>

A while back, <friend> asked you a question and is waiting for your answer. Please view the question and answer it. It will take just a few seconds, and you can simply answer Yes or No.

This seems like a rather complicated means of communicating. So, what is going on here?

<friend> asked you a question. View the question <http://www.sms.ac/WidgetAPI/Service.ashx <extremely long string> and answer it.

FanBox.com is the web-based desktop that instantly turns every computer into your computer. It includes over 10,000 web applications and games to choose from, including the Question It application.

This email was sent by <friend> while using the Question It application on FanBox.

Go here <http://profile.fanbox.com/preferences/EmailBlock.aspx> to learn more or stop receiving emails from friends using Question It. FanBox: 255 G Street #723, San Diego, CA 92101, USA

So, our friend is using some personal Website to ask me a question. That means our e-mail address is now in their database.

The "applications" they offer could be anything from this question service to games to who-knows-what.

There is an opt-out but why confirm an e-mail address to a service we don't need?

Welcome to the FanBox platform

In this email, we'll tell you about your new FanBox account and:

  • Why you want it
  • How you got it
  • How you can control or cancel it

A little digging turned up some information about this service.

Why you want it

FanBox enables millions of people to use thousands of applications provided by the best application developers from around the world.

Applications that improve your life - such as:

  • Your own @FanBox.com totally spam-free email address
  • Automatically backs up your PC files — you can access them from any Web connection
  • Games to entertain you for hours

The free mailbox may be spam-free but what about they mail they are sending to others?

Do you really want to turn control of all of your PC files over to an unknown service provider, and a game provider at that?

You are turning over your financial information, bank account numbers, user IDs, passwords....

How you got it

You were provided with a free FanBox account when you used an application called "Question It!", recommended to you by <friend>

To help avoid a double-registration process, users are instantly provided with a free FanBox account if they attempt to use an application (such as "Question It!") that runs on the FanBox platform.

So, when you answer your friend's question you will be registered with this outfit and subject to their terms and conditions.

They will have your e-mail address and password so they can tell all of your friends about their services.

How you can control or cancel it

Visit your Web-desktop to enjoy games and applications

Visit email settings to control the frequency of emails

You can instantly cancel your account in one easy step

We hope you enjoy FanBox as much as millions of others.

Look for the "Suggest!" links all over the site to let us know what you think. We're here to serve you.

Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | FanBox — 255 G Street #723, San Diego, CA 92101, USA

The "Suggest!" links "all over the site" must be interesting. Do they send requests to other people? Do they take you to dangerous Websites?

Once again, if you did not request it and if it seems to simple or too convenient, you probably don't want any part of it.

There is a wealth of good software and good services, often for free. Just check them out before using them. Using a free service that came to you as spam would probably not be a smart move.

This is a service we neither want nor need. It arrived as unsolicited e-mail, ostensibly because a friend initiated it. It seems like a terrific way to give up far too much personal information to a total stranger. Your friend may not be aware that their name is being used like this.


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03/19/06

   
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