I received “New Follower” notification but do not see in followers list

Before you continue reading this article, make sure if these mystery followers are using outlook(dot)com email address? If yes, proceed to read the rest of the article. If not, then this article is not useful for you.

Background

This started circa January 2018 and few WordPress.com users reported this. WordPress.com team swung into action and the attack stopped. This restarted circa April 2018. A few WordPress.com blogs are hit by these spam followers. WordPress.com team is aware and working to resolve this issue. So far, they have been successful in removing these spam followers automatically. However, they are still not able to control the notifications emails pertaining to these spam/ mystery followers.

Is my account hacked?

Thank you for trying to stay safe on the Internet. No, your account is not hacked, as long as your issue is related to receiving these spam outlook email followers only.

What is the purpose of these spammers?

It’s not easy to tell the purpose of these spammers. As one of the WordPress.com staff mentioned in the WordPress.com support forums:

They’re either trying to overload WordPress.com’s email servers to try and take down the service, or they’re hoping people would email them back to thank them for following, thereby giving them new email addresses they can spam or hack.

What are my options

There is nothing much that you can do at the moment. The best option for you is to ignore these spam followers. To avoid the annoyance of receiving email notifications you have few options as listed below:

  1. Quoting a staff from the WordPress.com support forums:

    The best workaround for you is going to be setting up a filter in your actual email for these followers emails. This will prevent them from reaching your inbox, saving you some aggravation.

  2. Disable the email notifications from your WordPress.com account
    1. Go to https://wordpress.com/me/notifications page
    2. Click “V” sign to the right of your site name
    3. Uncheck the box for “Site follows” notifications
    4. Click “Save Settings” button
    5. You can disable the email notifications again when this problem is controlled

What I should not do?

Do not reply to any of the followers as that could expose you to more spam.

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