Telephone and email are scrambled in some browsers

I was reviewing a related website with a client and discovered that the email and telephone number in the footer are “data-scrambled” when looking at the page with certain browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Opera) but not Edge. It’s a WordPress site. The scrambling is in a js script.

Inspecting the elements reveals <a data-scrambled="t" href="#" >5432-198)008)</a> where the phone number is reversed as is the email address.

My client doesn’t see this on her computer. We’re concerned that her potential clients may see this on theirs. I would like to reassure her that the “problem” occurs only because I use developer tools. Is this likely?


I suspect that it’s to prevent the real number from being divulged. Any automatic system that scours the source code for phone numbers won’t get the real number. They’re protected from that danger.

I understand the reasoning - keep bots from harvesting the information. What puzzles me is why the site would do that for “normal” visitors. I tried on a couple of other computers without any developer tools. Same result.

My guess would be that either the bot detection fails to recognise you as a human, and/or the numbers are scrambled by default and the JS to unscramble the numbers simply has a bug. So I would rather look for a different solution… e.g. for emails wordpress actually has some built in protection. Using JS alone is no guarantee for protection anyway as bots are quite able to execute JS too.

Maybe you are indeed a bot…? You don’t by chance adhere to the 3 laws of robotics? :-P Other than that, are you maybe behind a proxy that could make your IP look suspicious?

Thanks. I’ll recommend she contact the company and tell them about the issue. I had friends verify the issue from other locales. Just another thing to be aware of when trying to protect a site and its owners. :slight_smile:

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