In the spirit of the holidays, I thought I'd address that big can of Spam that I got as a gift last week.
It came via Facebook, from a man named Elihu El, who has, over the past few months, issued me many invitations to events or groups, usually something to do with politics and Washington, D.C.
I have no idea who Elihu El is. We're not Facebook friends and we're not a part of any groups together. So I messaged him, telling him that I'm a reporter and asking him how -- and why -- he kept inviting me to all these events.
He responded right away, telling me that he was "politically active'' and that's why he had my contact information. When I asked him how he had my contact information -- especially since, as a journalist, I don't take any public political positions -- he said he wasn't "certain'' how he got my information. In that last message, he adjusted his privacy settings on his profile.
I took that shadow profile image as a red flag and blocked him
I also reported the behavior to Facebook. They make it very easy to do this: just click the tiny blue 'report' button next to a message on an inbox, or the report/block tab just under a person's name in their profile. There's also a ``report spam'' on your Facebook inbox menu, too.
I'm guessing he found my personal e-mail somewhere online and used that to invite me to his events and groups. Because I have that e-mail account linked to my Facebook account, the events were automatically added to my Facebook profile -- and made it seem as if we were somehow connected there, even though we're not.
I'll be honest -- I've been getting e-mails from this guy for months now. In the past, I wanted to block him, but I figured somehow I knew him and didn't want to offend him.
Like many people, I have hundreds of Facebook friends, so assuming I knew this person was logical. But this experience was also a reminder that there are plenty of spammers out there -- and it's our responsibility to call these people out.