The system forwards emails to your email account, so I don't think they would have access to your email. Although it is disturbing that there is not a job post associated with it.
I did not get this but I am not available and I am set to private.
Possibly someone sending invites and their job got deleted? We all do have a contact us on our public pages as well.
re: "I did not get this but I am not available and I am set to private."
I was wondering why I didn't get the message either, but my availability setting is set to NOT available, so that probably explains it. My account is NOT set to private.
In any case, it is disturbing that anybody received this message. It definitely sounds like oDesk was hacked.
Suzanne: Kudos, good to know, "did not get this but I am not available and I am set to private."
That pretty well rules out the senders using scraping of the core site to determine their target audience based on predetermined criteria.
That leaves it an "inside job" possibly using multiple, bogus (throw away) client accounts and using either manual or semi-automated methods to determine their target audience with or without predetermined criteria before sending out the emails / messages.
Wild guess: If the core site uses a journal file type system (or equivalent logs), which extends to user input, maybe activities can be gleaned from such records. Of course, reversing activities whereby emails / messages have already been sent would not be an option. Still, such records could reveal exactly what the senders had done and how they did it.
I'm another lucky recipient of the email. I was about to click on the link in the email, then thought better of it. I did a bit of Googling, and did find the website. It appears to be legitimate, but the fact that someone managed to contact us through the oDesk messaging system is a bit alarming. I also discovered that the person who supposedly sent the email is a dancer.
And this brings up another concern. I've made it a habit to do a quick online check of every client who approaches me on oDesk. I've had several send invitations to interview who have turned out to be professional athletes, one disgraced UK educator, and now a professional dancer. It appears that people are posting fraudulent jobs using famous or semi-famous names. What's up with this??? Should I report each one? The most recent was just this week. He (if he was a he) had me jump through a few hoops, then came back and said he was "approaching the project in a different way", then hired someone else for the same job. This was the one who used the name of the educator. It's getting scary out here! Guess it pays to check.
Clueless? Maybe not. If Elance-oDesk was not behind the mysterious message, then, I suspect a person or persons created bogus accounts on oDesk in order to promote a new site competing with Elance-oDesk. After the messages were sent, the person or persons closed their oDesk accounts; hence, no job descriptions, member profiles, etc.
Another reason for oDesk to "vet" all new client and freelancer accounts; and to review all job descriptions before they are posted (although job postings were not the target of mis-use in this instance).