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To Catch A Spammer
The Complaint

 

Now that you have all the cannon fodder for your complaint, what should you say in your complaint?

The first and most important aspect of your complaint is to be PROFESSIONAL. Do not whine, do not curse them out, don't threaten, and don't e-mail bomb them. This is very important to remember. Many times the people you are complaining to are just as much of a victim as you are. Frequently a spammer will pretend they came from a particular server, so the server admins may be completely innocent.

I have sent literally hundreds of these complaints, and only a very few times has the administrator been a total waste of flesh who does nothing. A great majority of them are just as motivated as you are to stamp out spam. ESPECIALLY if it's coming from their server/domain. Now I said don't threaten, but I always put everyone's e-mail address who is receiving the complaint in plain view in the TO header. I also point this out in the message (my way of saying "Don't just sweep this under the carpet.") Here are some examples of what I usually say in my complaints, please use them or modify them as you see fit:

Dear sir or ma'am,
I received the below attached spam message from <spamboy@juno.com> on the 28th of Sept 98. The sender did not receive my express consent or solicitation before sending this message. According to the e-mail/web site address provided by them in their message, they are using your domain for their activities.

I would appreciate any assistance you can provide in putting a stop to their spamming practices. This complaint has been mailed to the following people:

<root@juno.com>
<administrator@internic.com>

etc...


Another message I send sometimes is this one:

I received an e-mail from <spamboy@juno.com> on 28 Sep 1998 containing a "sales letter". The return address is of course faked, which is consistent with experienced and aggressive spammers. I've attached the header information to the bottom of this message. Possibly you can trace the IP addresses better than I. Also, Please take note that even though the subject line states "Hey, here's that info you wanted", the To: and From: fields are both addressed to <spamboy@juno.com>. Generally people only do this for one of two reasons. The first is to test their send/receive capability (except that normally you don't put a subject header like that as well as a full length message. It's usually SUBJECT: Test, BODY: This is a test. etc...), the other reason, is to mass mail people by sending the message to a dummy address and BCCing all the intended spamees. The mass mailer doesn't even receive a bounce message for the address in the To: field because it doesn't exist.

 

Most server admins know this already, but it helps to make you look like you've done your homework.


Sleuthing Follow-up
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