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Many people are getting messages from Tagged indicating that a friend has posted photos. Here's a clue: they didn't.

This is less of a question than it is a warning about what many believe is malware or a scam, but is more closely related to simply super-aggressive and perhaps deceitful attempts to hook you in to some kind of social network.

No, no one sent you pictures on Tagged, and contrary to the "they may think you said no" guilt-trip, it's more likely that they had no idea that the email was sent in their name.

And likely without their knowledge (though whether or not it was with their "permission" is one for the lawyers to figure out).

And yes, as I understand it, lawyers have become involved.

In my opinion, you just shouldn't go there. Just ... don't. I treat all email from Tagged as spam.

Here's what probably happens...

Tagged.com Invite

Like you, your friends receive an email from friends of theirs, like the invitation above. Wanting to see the pictures (of which there are none, but they don't know that yet), or not wanting their friends to "think you said no", they click the link.

First, they have to register.

Somewhere along the way, they're invited to share their email account on another service, like Hotmail, Yahoo or others. Perhaps even supplying a password.

That's when the fun begins.

Apparently, Tagged goes out to that account, logs in as you, reads your address book...

...and sends email to all your contacts telling them you've sent them photos on Tagged.

Which, of course, you never did.

It's actually possible that if you register for Tagged (so you can see your friends photos - you know, the ones that don't exist)), in the fine print of the terms of usage that you sign up for you've actually given Tagged permission to do exactly this.

So, is it illegal? Maybe, maybe not. We'll let the lawyers argue it out.

Is it malicious? Well, it doesn't attempt to install malware, or misrepresent much of anything other than your friend having photos when they do not, so - maybe, maybe not.

Is it slimy and annoying and spammy?

H*** yes.

Don't fall for it.

The real lesson here is to always view these kinds of invitations as suspect. If there's anything that seems suspicious about it, ask your friend directly before acting on the invitation. Tagged is not the first to attempt this, nor will they be the last. Make sure that the site is reputable, legitimate and that you're also not actually dealing with a phishing attempt.

Technically Tagged is neither spam nor phishing, and might even be legitimate, but in my opinion it certainly fails the "reputable" test.

Article C3756 - June 8, 2009 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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12 Comments
Joel Albert
June 9, 2009 10:34 AM

got bit last week with "invitation" from friend to view photos. Shudda known better since friend wouldn't know a lens from a lily. But he had been to a family occasion and thought he wanted to share pix. Opted out of most of the annoying subscriptions Tagged offers and think I withheld virtually all sensitive data. We'll see. Too soon old, too late smart.

Marti
June 9, 2009 12:13 PM

I think "Tagged" is back in business and pretty active right because I just got an email from someone I knew several years ago with the subject about photos from Tagged. When I emailed her back rather than signing up for Tagged, all she did was to send back an apology email. At least, this provides an explanation. They are prirating the contact lists for all the people who sign up thinking that they are going to see some pictures from a friend. Unfortunately, this is not the only website that is doing that.

Steve
June 9, 2009 12:27 PM

I've gotten two such phony mailings from Tagged. My wife got one from Facebook!

judy marriott
June 9, 2009 2:02 PM

I have received two e-mails from Tagged.com. The first told me that a friend had pictures to show me - even had her correct e-mail address. Stupid me - I opened it. Nothing there but lot of things to subscribe to. Asked my friend - she wrote back - she has no account with Tagged, and never posted any pictures on there. has no idea how they got her e-mail or mine. I reported it to yahoo as a scam. The second one I immediately reported as spam. That was Saturday. I hope no damage was done. Time will tell. How sneaky they are - looks to ligitimate when you see it in your mailbox.

MIKLO
June 9, 2009 5:20 PM

Jeez....People really fell 4this? Hmmm guess lessions can be hard 2learn.I have received at least 3 invites in one of my email addys,and at least 1 in the rest.If my "friends" are to lazy or whatever to send me the pics from their own email then Im to lazy or not interested to waste the time to go see em.I dont have a problem to go see if they send a link but other than that Im no gonna play dat game!When will we learn that there are no "free" rides and ya dont get somethin 4nothin.I do believe ya get what ya pay for......4the most part anyway.NewsFlash the old saying that if its 2good 2be true then maybe its not!

MIKLO

Mark Jacobs
June 10, 2009 6:16 AM

I got "Tagged" but I assumed it was spam because I've never heard of the person who supposedly tagged me. I think it definitely fits the accepted if not legal definition of Spam: Unsolicited, unwanted and from an unknown sender even if they trick people to give permission to smam their contact list.

Marty Wolfson
June 10, 2009 6:43 AM

It happened to a cousin of mine at a different site but it wasn't photos: he logged in to look up a phone # and "my life" spammed all his contacts.

Patricia Rochester
June 10, 2009 8:45 PM

On several different occaisions I have received a message: "You've been tagged" and "Someone has tagged you" I had no clue who would have done that, so I just deleted it. Now I'm really glad I did.
Note to Miklo: You really have an abrasive comment. You sound like the time worn "Mr. Know-it all" and the "Holier than Thou" attitude you portray is basically a turn-off. I'm surprised you have any friends who would want to share pictures.

RODGER BARTLETT
June 10, 2009 10:34 PM

Yes, I got tagged...now I want to know how to get untagged....

Marie Leclercq
June 13, 2009 6:48 AM

Thank you Patricia Rochester for you comment to Miklo, i was about to post the same comment, some of the "newbies" in the internet world,sadly,have to learn the hard way. Every new pc should come with a subscription to "Ask Leo" installed to teach them how to navigate the internet safely.

Kathleen Drotar
June 14, 2009 4:56 PM

I rec'd two of these just this past week. They were in the name of a co-worker who doesn't usually use the form of her name that was used, in previous e-mails. It just seemed odd, so I waited until I saw her. Her clueless reaction strengthened my resolve that they were at the very least spam. It was just so timely to see it mentioned in the newsletter. Thanks.

John Gaillard
August 16, 2009 9:13 AM

If someone could please educate me on the "INS and OUTS" of tagged I will greatly appreciate anything you share. My gf swears she did not create a Tagged account/profile and that she has never "added" or "invited" anyone to be a friend. Yet I can see 41 friends mostly with pictures on her profile. Also if I go to these friend's profile, there is my gf listed as a friend of hers. Maybe a little hanky panky going on here, but I have read so much now about similar problems in Tagged, I don't know what to believe or not. Girls will be girls sometimes, but she deserves the benefit of doubt. HELP !!!!!!!

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