Random friend seeking on Google Talk?

Has anybody else noticed this?

Over the past several months, I’ve had a few people add me to their Google Talk account, claiming they want to make friends. The conversations start simple enough, asking basic “getting to know you” questions. Nothing seems too prying, and it certainly doesn’t seem like a bot. However, in each case, something doesn’t fully seem to add up, or maybe I’m just being paranoid. Either the person doesn’t remember how they found my address, or they claim they were just trying random addresses. Some people are from India, some from the US. However, they never seem to be able to find a picture when requested. They look and look but never manage to find one, and then suddenly have to go.

I’ve IM’d with a couple of them for a few days, a week, just to see if they were going to ask any questions indicating they were looking for specific information, but they haven’t really.

I’d feel bad if these were actually real people just “looking for a friend,” as they’ve said, but the fact that nobody can seem to give me a good reason for how they got my info concerns me, as does the behavior about a picture. Have other people seen this? Is it some new kind of weird spam/info gathering attempt? Or what?

11 thoughts on “Random friend seeking on Google Talk?”

  1. Happend to me a couple of times and good that i don’t use IM much anymore. 🙂 Mostly they are just trying to get money out of you somehow. Most of them instantly give up when they realize that the person they are talking to is not an idiot but some of they continue their efforts until it reaches a real dead-end. Believe it or not there are plenty of people on this planet who easily fall for these traps and thats what feed these people.

  2. Actually, I find this very interesting. If these are bots, we are looking to some new kind of AI security threat in the future… or just security agencies doing that kind of thing. In any way, that’s very interesting and disturbing at the same time. Thanks for sharing.

  3. This has happened to me occasionally for a number of years as well. So far nothing’s ever come of it; I suspect it’s just folks trying to build contacts and going about it in a clumsy manner.

  4. i get that all the time on all my accounts. some site got your account, and then they copied to profile onto an international friend-finding site, which gets copied onto another one, ad nauseum, and after a while people start contacting you for no discernible reason.

    you’ll probably start getting spammed at some point, which really sucks, although some of the people talking to you are probably completely normal, if a little lame. it’s just a common sense thing about what you shouldn’t tell them about yourself.

  5. Paranoia is always a good default.

    Finding friends is why you get involved in projects or go outside your house; not IM random people on the intarwebs.

  6. For completeness, I’ve not seen this. Nor do I have settings so that random people can IM me. If I want to talk with someone, I’ll have added them in to my contacts list already, or have means to do so.

  7. I’ve had that happen to me lots of times, especially long ago when I used ICQ, and more recently on Skype. Honestly, some times it’s just people looking for someone to chat with. I’ve had a lot of people from Korea or China message me at random on Skype, and most of the time it’s someone just having fun or wanting to learn English. Usually I get bored of them pretty fast so it never lasts for more than one conversation. Occasionally I have made some distant friends that way.

    A funny and related story: I actually met my first girlfriend long ago (talk about 10 years or so here… ) through ICQ when it had the “random chat” feature. Turned out she lived down the street, quite a coincidence.

  8. Years ago, I had the same problem with my ICQ account (it was around 1999-2000).

    When I completed my profile, I choosed “unspecified” for the gender and I entered a random 4 letters word for my first name.

    I then received a lot (really a lot) of new contacts, meanly from Pakistan. Some of them where even sexually explicit. After a few weeks, I asked one of the spammer “why”. He explained me than the random four letters I typed was a very popular surname for girls in Pakistan. The “unspecified” gender was interpreted as “woman”, guess what’s next..

  9. I dont know what it is but i can tell you that i have myself done a lot of random ppl chatting. i used to find them on yahoo members directory. i had my own motives , my plots. but it was all basically cause i wasnt really dealing with solitude very well. so the best thing i thought i could do was chat to random ppl. a lot of times i ended finding interesting ppl at times even ppl who would humour whatever i had in mind ( could be ugly at times ).

  10. I was out of my home town, I had never started the application before to best of my knowledge and a probable woman started an instant message with me with Hi, so I said hi and it went on a bit i wasn’t really paying attention, then she said she was going for a bath did I want to watch her get undressed on video, I thought this is a bit odd how did she just start talking to me from nothing, I said I’m with children at moment so no thanks and she or it left the conversation and then about half hour later a different one started up and I just blocked it, since returning to my own town this has not happened again, very strange.

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