LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Spammers have found a new way to catch mobile phone users’ attention – iPhone calendar invites.
iPhone users across the country have reported receiving the calendar invites for deals and sales on everything from Michael Kors handbags to Ray-Ban sunglasses to NFL jerseys. The invites come from users like “rddvpt” or “ncsxog” and occasionally include Chinese characters, suggesting the spam invitations are originating from China.
The number of invites appears to have increased in the week prior to Thanksgiving and Black Friday, prompting many Mac-focused publications to offer advice and workarounds to avoid the newest form of spam.
According to CNET, there is no official solution yet – the invites cannot be marked as spam, and allowed calendar invites cannot be limited to people in the user’s contacts list. And unfortunately, declining the invite will signal to the spammer that your email is in active use.
There are workarounds, but they are inelegant and can also affect the invites from legitimate friends and family.
The iCloud calendar defaults to sending each user event invitations as an in-app notification. This can be modified by logging into icloud.com. Click on Calendar, then click on Actions (the gear icon) in the lower left-hand corner of the screen, and click on Preferences. In the Advanced tab under Invitations, choose to receive event invitations as In-app notifications or sent to email.
In theory, having the spam calendar invite sent to email will push it into the spam folder, because email has a better spam filter. But in reality, this method will push all invitations – even legitimate ones from the user’s contact list – to email, and in some cases, into a void, never to be found at all, especially if the iCloud Mail account isn’t in active use.
To hide the invites without declining, which would notify the spammer that the email address is active, create a new calendar – maybe call it “Spam” – and relegate all the unwanted invites to that calendar, then delete, making sure to hit “Delete and Don’t Notify” if that question pops up.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment for this article.