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I've been getting a disproportionately high number of subscribers to my WordPress site relative to the little traffic it receives. I suspect most of these subscribers are bots. Normally I delete any that have a really weird Russian email addresses, but it is getting harder to tell if any of the subscribers are real people or not.

Nobody ever comments or changes profile images, so it just seems like it might be best to disable the comments and registration features.

In particular, I keep getting this one suspicious user who uses the username "Services-Resources." It sounds like a potential exploit for sending out fake emails under my website's name. Registered users only get contributor access, so I don't see what the hackers have to gain other than the satisfaction of annoying the webmaster.

I don't know if I am missing out on something that can do a better job of blocking spam. I currently have a recaptcha, WordFence, and some email scraper blocker plugins (I don't have Akismet anymore).

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You may want to look into a Honeypot plugin. (If you test this option, you may want to turn off reCaptcha temporarily to avoid conflicts. Also, some of the Honeypot plugins haven't been updated in a while, so you may need to do some research, or to pay a few bucks for a premium one.) Otherwise, try to set up activation emails which go out to new users; if they don't click the link, they won't be added to the list.

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  • Thanks. I have a dedicated spam blocker on the forums that works similar to a honeypot, but I think I'll try the activation email thing if the number of ghost subscribers starts to get out of hand. Jun 17, 2017 at 0:03
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    I read on on a related post that registration bots are just probing to find sites that don't block automated posts. If the bots find out the comments sections have blocking control settings in place, they move on to another site and leave an empty user account behind for the website admin to have to deal with. Jun 17, 2017 at 0:07
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    One consideration is that some spam scripts also read emails and click links. Cheers!!
    – closetnoc
    Jun 17, 2017 at 0:26

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