Stop e-mail sales!!!!
Ian A. York
iayork at panix.com
Wed Nov 18 09:16:31 EST 1998
In article <72rudl$jce$1 at mserv2.dl.ac.uk>,
Wolfgang Schechinger <wolfgang.schechinger at med.uni-tuebingen.de> wrote:
>Is there a way to find out the real addresses of these spammers?
<http://www.ao.net/waytosuccess/reportspam_trackresources.html>. But note
that what you suggest is on the borderline of legality.
Okay, I said I wouldn't post again, but I lied. This one *will* be it,
Very few spammers *have* real email addresses. Most of them buy (or more
often, fraudulently steal) a temporary account, intending to use it only
for their spam run, since they know that (1) they will be kicked off
immediately, since they're violating the terms of service of the ISP; and
since (2) the ISP will be bogged down by complaints anyway.
The handful who have managed to find a home as slimy as them, don't take
incoming mail. It simply gets routed to the trash. They never see
You can't think of these people as interactive. They don't want a
dialogue, they want to scream in your ear as loud as they can and then
leave. Replying to them is a waste of time.
What you can do is (if and only if you can read headers accurately)
complain to the originating ISP--it's rarely of great use, but it ensures
that ISPs know that spamming is still unpopular. You should also complain
to the owners of any web sites advertised; this is more effective, since
they hope to keep this going more than a day or two. Be sure you can
trace the web site's owner--that is, the ISP which hosts it--accurately.
Similarly, there may be a drop box--a return address that the spammer
wants to use for more than that spam--buried in the spam. Complain to
that ISP, too.
But remember for web sites and drop boxes (and return addresses) that
spammers have been known to target people they don't like, and include
innocent addresses deliberately in order to get their opponents' sites
attacked. Be polite when you notify these complaints, for that reason;
and if you're not certain that the site is guilty, leave it.
Most spammers also forge a return address, often to hotmail or AOL. (AOL
and Hotmail are very, very rarely genuine sources of spam; these ISPs have
thei faults, but they are death on spammers.) I notify some of these
return address ISPs, because this forging is probably illegal; Hotmail
has successfully sued three spammers for doing this (to the tune of
$275,000[!], $55,000, and $7,500), and I hope that I can provide evidence
to help prosecute some other spammer. If other spammers get hit for this,
it will be a huge help; making spam cost money is the most effective way
of ending the problem. Again, being polite here is good idea--these guys
are also victims.
To know how to read headers, have a look at
Ian York (iayork at panix.com) <http://www.panix.com/~iayork/>
"-but as he was a York, I am rather inclined to suppose him a
very respectable Man." -Jane Austen, The History of England
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