Avoiding Automated Account Creation

For several years, many sites have been using “CAPTCHA“s to ensure there is a real person signing up for an account.  We’ve all seen them – these are the questions where the user is asked to type in the letters of a distorted image before proceeding to the next step.

I just went to create a new GMail account, and I pleasantly discovered a new system, hopefully even more tricky for spammers to work around.  The GMail system requires that it be able to send an SMS message to your cellphone before it will let you create an account.  They will only allow 10 accounts per phone number to sign up.  So, even if the spammer manages to get 100 phones, he’s still not getting a very large number of GMail accounts. 

Of course, if you don’t have a SMS-capable cell-phone, I guess you are out-of-luck!  Maybe others have seem this already and I’m slow to notice.  But I thought this was pretty cool.

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