Help fight SPAM  and UCE
(U)nsolicited (C)ommercial (E)mail
(S)imultaneously (P)osted (A)dvertising (M)essages

actions (If you don't want to be kicked off the net, don't send me spam!) links

Some spammers have begun sending their spam email using my email address as the From and Reply to addresses on their spam - perhaps in retaliation for this page.  These emails did not come from me.  The true source can be found by using the IP address in the Received headers from the spam message.

Direct, specific, personal, questions or recommendations
about the specific contents of this site are welcome,
but...

You are hereby notified that you are NOT AUTHORIZED to collect or receive or sell, rent, or otherwise disclose our addresses and/or email addresses without prior express written permission.  Further, you are explicitly NOT AUTHORIZED to send us email for the purposes of soliciting commercial activity or of promoting or advertising any commercial or religious venture or of advertising any websites.  Mass-mailing announcements of any kind are prohibited without explicit prior authorization.   You are explicitly NOT AUTHORIZED to send us ANY commercial or promotional email that is not specifically and individually related to the content of this site.  Any such email will be considered UCE or SPAM and will be reported as a complaint to your ISP or email host resulting in the suspension or termination of your account in accordance with their acceptable use policy.

Under US Code Title 47, Sec.227(b)(1)(C):

"It shall be unlawful for any person within the United States to use any telephone facsimile machine, computer, or other device to send an unsolicited advertisement to a telephone facsimile machine"

A "telephone facsimile machine" is defined in Sec.227(a)(2)(B) as:

"equipment which has the capacity to transcribe text or images (or both) from an electronic signal received over a regular telephone line onto paper."

Under this definition, an e-mail account, modem, computer and printer together constitute a fax machine.

The rights of action are as follows. Under Sec.227(b)(3)(B):

"A person or entity may, if otherwise permitted by the laws or rules of court of a State, bring in an appropriate court of that State --

(A) an action based on a violation of this subsection or the regulations prescribed under this subsection to enjoin such violation;
(B) an action to recover for actual monetary loss from such a violation, or to receive $500 in damages for each such violation, whichever is greater; or
(C) both such actions. If the court finds that the defendant willfully or knowingly violated this sub-section or the regulations prescribed under this sub-section, the court may, in its discretion, increase the amount of the award to an amount equal to not more than 3 times the amount available under subparagraph (B) of this paragraph."

The full text of the current law can be read at the Cornell Law Library.

Fight back against unwanted email!

When I get spam, I take most or all the following actions.

  1. Do NOT send a "Remove" reply; this only confirms that your email address is active and may result in more spam.
  2. Send a copy of the message with full headers to "abuse@..." the sites from which the email came.
  3. If abuse@... bounces, send them to "Postmaster@".
  4. Look up domain name with whois to identify contact points.
  5. Send a copy of the complaint to the technical or administrative contact for the provider whenever abuse@... and postmaster@... bounce or when there is reason to believe that the domain itself is the spammer.
  6. When there are obvious attempts to conceal the source of the spam, lookup the internet address in the received line using NeoTrace to identify the email server.   NeoTrace will decode both base 10 and dsn versions of urls. (NeoTrace was purchased by McAfee.  The current product is McAfee Visual Trace.)
  7. If the spam comes directly from the domain itself (rather than a user at the domain), look up the domain server (upstream provider) and send a copy of the complaint to contacts at the domain server.
  8. Send copies of the spam complaint to abuse@ and contacts for the domain or upstream for any web sites advertised in the spam.
  9. Check out any web pages advertised for email addresses, and send a complaint to the email address providers.
  10. Do a search for identifying items, such as addresses or phone numbers; you may find other pages with these items.  This will often directly identify the isp providing the source. Send copies of the complaint to ISP's for these web pages also.
  11. I always send a copy of any spam reports to my own ISP for spam filtering information.
  12. For businesses, search for the Chamber of Commerce, Mayor's office, and/or Police department in the City mentioned, and send copies of spam complaints to those organizations.
  13. Report the full message to the FTC Scam Spam Reporting Page if the message appears to be a scam of some kind.
  14. Report any pyramid or multi-level sales schemes to the US Postal Inspector at fraud@uspis.gov.  These schemes are in violation of postal regulations, and ALL address contained therein will be investigated and prosecuted by the Postal Service.
  15. Report fraud solicitations to the FTC at: FTC Consumer Complaint From or forward spam fraud to uce@ftc.gov
  16. Report Nigeria scams per the 419 Coalition instructions and to the Hong Kong Police. "We strongly advise that you do not respond to this kind of letter or e-mail. You may address all future correspondence on this subject to Detective Senior Inspector I. S. Johnston, Intelligence Section, Commercial Crime Bureau, Hong Kong Police, Arsenal Street, Wanchai, Hong Kong. Mr. Johnston can be contacted on telephone number 2860 4984, by fax number 2802 4865 or e-mail address ip-sip-int-b-d-div-ccb@police.gov.hk."
  17. Report stock fraud or offers without a prospectus to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (email enforcement@sec.gov)
  18. Report mail fraud or "multi-tier sales plans" containing mailing addresses to the US Postal Inspector at fraud@uspis.gov. Don't be seduced; these are just disguised illegal pyramid sales plans. (Read details on why pyramid sales plans are illegal.)
  19. "You may choose to exclude your name from Credit Reporting Agency lists for unsolicited credit and insurance offers. Creditors and insurers may use file information as the basis for sending you unsolicited offers of credit or insurance. Such offers must include a toll-free phone number for you to call if you want your name and address removed from future lists. If you call, you shall be kept off the lists for two years. The toll-free number for all of the national CRAs is 1 888 5OPTOUT (1 888 567 8688.) If you request, complete, and return the CRA form provided for this purpose, you shall be taken off the lists indefinitely."

I am frequently rewarded by return email advising that the offender's account has been terminated for violation of acceptable use policies.  By consistently and repeatedly following this process, I  have reduced my incoming spam volume to a tenth its former level.

(So if you don't want to be kicked off the net, don't send me spam!)

Want to know more?  Check out these links.

  • SpamHelp - "a resource that evolves to reflect the changes in the war against spam"
  • Web Biz - Direct E-Mail Service Center Use this site to get your name REMOVED from legitimate mass email marketing lists. It will help cut down on some unwanted email, but it won't cut it all out
  • Network-Tools.com. Ping, Trace, NS Lookup, URL unencode, HTTP Header, email validation, and whois tools.
  • spamfree.org - Because no one should be forced to receive junk e-mail (On this date the site is empty.)
  • SpamCop Spam reporting service, DNS-based blacklist, & commercial email filtering.
  • Check your Internet Innocence - there is more lurking out there in cyberspace than just annoying spam.

Sample extracts of messages confirming the success of anti-spam efforts:

Date: Sat, 14 Feb 1998 10:59:28 -0800
From: NETCOM Policy Management <abuse@netcom.com>

Hello,

We have terminated the account of our user for breaking our policies.

From: Mark mark@champ.tstonramp.com
Date: Sat, 14 Feb 1998 14:09:39 -0800 (PST)

The account has already been terminated. Thank you for your concern.

From: policy@hotmail.com
Date: Sat, 14 Feb 1998 14:57:13 -0800

We have closed the account referenced in your mail.

Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 11:39:42 -0600
From: "Robert Z. McFarland" <webmaster@wj.net>

Dear Dr. Kenyon,

Please accept my apology for the following spam which originated from a client of ours. We are taking steps to ensure that this client will not send unsolicited email again.

Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 11:58:18 -0700
From: "Abuse, USA.NET" <abuse@usa.net>

Dear Sir or Madam,

Thank you for reporting the unsolicited commercial e-mail that you recently received.

We have cancelled the sender's account for complaints of spam, which violate(s) our Terms & Conditions Agreement.

From: policy@hotmail.com
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 13:13:37 -0800

We have closed the account referenced in your mail.

Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 13:25:31 -0800
From: abuse@netcom.com (Netcom Policy Management)

Hello:

Thank you for your report. This user's account has been terminated for violations of NETCOM's Acceptable Use Guidelines.

From: abuse@bellsouth.net
Date: Sat, 21 Feb 98 20:16:42 -0500

Thank you very much for taking the time to inform us of this situation. In accordance with BellSouth.net's Appropriate Use Policies, the Internet services account of cyberion@bellsouth.net has been canceled.

Date: Mon, 02 Mar 1998 11:39:18 -0700
From: "Abuse, USA.NET" <abuse@usa.net>

Thank you for reporting the offensive e-mail that you recently received.

We have cancelled the sender's account for complaints of abusive
mail, which violate(s) our Terms & Conditions Agreement.

(And too many more to continue posting! - over 400! )

This page was updated by Ralph Kenyon on 2009/11/16 at 10:58 and has been accessed 37406 times at 140 hits per month.