Many of you have recently received emails offering to sell you our membership database. First, rest assured, we have not and will not ever sell our membership information to anyone!
Unfortunately, a “Membership Directory” page that was supposed to display only profiles that were intentionally set as public by the owner instead displayed everyone’s website profiles. Bots were then able to collect the names and email addresses and commenced spamming members.
Below is a statement provided by the web developer explaining what went wrong:
Hello Members of the 4WDABC.
As many of you have seen, we’ve had an issue with bots and spammers in recent weeks. I’ve been working with the team to track down the issues, and you’ve all seen the statement from the organization.
This is my fault.
When we migrated to the new website, we had challenges pulling all the profile data into the new system. One of those fields that was an issue was related to our Membership Directory. As a result, profiles meant to be private were public, and the pages that were intended to be locked Members Only content were also visible to the public. I missed this. Until the first spam emails were reported, I was unaware those pages were public. I made a mistake, and you’re all getting spammed as a result.
We have since locked down that system and those pages, but the damage is done.
However – please be aware that no sensitive data was breached. Our complete database was not penetrated, only those publicly available profile pages. No passwords are compromised, no sensitive data has been stolen, and no billing details are even saved in our database. As irritating as it is to be spammed by bots, they only have the most basic details of member profiles like name, email, or profile fields such as vehicle / experience / etc.
I understand how frustrating this can be, and I apologize for the spam that has been slung at the members of the 4WDABC. I also understand that the website has faced many, many, technical challenges that have provided further frustrations. Please be patient with the folks at the 4WDABC. They are an amazingly hardworking team of volunteers, and have done so much to help us solve these challenges. None of these problems stem from their work or management – my technical failures since the site launched are to blame, and I’m here to fall on my metaphorical sword. I have made mistakes that have affected you all, but will work to correct them. The 4WDABC team and I are working together to diagnose the issues, make changes, and bring in further technical experts to cover my shortfalls.
I will continue my work with them to get these problems solved, no matter how long it takes. I thank you for your patience and understanding.
Sean – 4WDABC Web Designer
The pages that made this data visible have now been removed and likely will not be replaced, even if the privacy flags are sorted out. In the future, if you do receive one of these spam emails, our recommendation is that you do not respond but simply mark the email as spam and delete it. Replying will confirm to the spammers that they’re sending to a valid email address.
We are very thankful for Sean’s diligent work and would absolutely recommend Chromaside based on his commitment, skill, and transparency. Working to convert decades of obsolete data into a completely new system is bound to be fraught with bugs and frustrations, yet we all remain committed to the cause.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form below.