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(From kraven, alt.www.webmaster, 8 November 2001):

I hear ya. This is really frustrating. I've killed a few spammer accounts and aided in court proceedings against them (affidavits). It's a thankless task though. If you're *serious* about fighting spam, here's what I've found effective (all free -- see below).

On the other hand, if you just want to solve the problem for yourself, change your email address, making sure it is with obscure domain (anything@aol.com or hotmail.com or @home.com or whatever is bound to be guessed even if it's not scraped some other way ; slooper@snarzgrubber.xom will not), use a throwaway address at hotmail for any and all "commercial" contacts and set the spam filter to disallow contact from anyone not on your email list. Never post your email address to a newsgroup, in any form, and never put it on your web page (use form mail for first contact). When registering domain names, use your throwaway account.

Killing them softly:

1 - Use "http://www.spamcop.net" to report the spam to those involved (upstream providers get pissed when they receive 1,000 complaints).

2 - Use "http://www.opensrs.org/cgi-bin/whois.cgi" to get a land mail address and other contact info

3 - Use above info to register a complaint with the Better Business Bureau in their area ("http://www.bbb.org") and the FTC ("http://www.ftc.gov").

4 - You can also contact their local police (I did this once with a persistent spammer who sent me spam 3 times a day for a week). Don't use words like "spam" though, use "persistent harassment through email" and, if relevant (was in my case) "hacking computer systems" (the spammer used an exploit to open a remailer along the way).

5 - Quote relevant spam/hacking laws (find them at "http://www.spamlaws.com") to local law enforcement when speaking with them. They may be reluctant to act because they don't know the statutes, but when you give them a good reference they perk right up.

6 - Do your research: Use "http://groups.google.com" to find and consolidate other people's complaints. Send your complaints to the same addresses they have used.

7 - Be POLITE. You're mad at the spammer, not the cops or sys admins. If you're abusive with them, they'll write you off as a crackpot. Be firm, but polite. Don't accept "there's nothing we can do." Quote the relevant law and mention the official agencies involved, and let them know that failing to act in accordance with the law could make them look like associates or "aiding and abetting".

These have worked for me on several occasions. The spammers first and best line of defense is anonymity and victim complacency. Once local law enforcement and consumer protection agencies get involved, anonymity gets pealed away and victims rally. All of a sudden the spammer has 4 agencies on his back, or more, and it's not a joke anymore.

If they are involved in any other type of crime -- and it's very common for people involved in spamming to be involved in other types of misconduct (pyramid scams, get-rich-quick cons, unpaid alimony, even excessive speeding tickets, fraud, larceny, etc.) -- the cops look them up, find all these outstanding warrants, and just waltz over and throw the guy in the slammer >:-)


Comments --

An interesting link with anti-spam ideas
http://www.cexx.org/spamguide.htm

Washington Court - Don't Spam Our Residents--
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-6219119.htm

How to Avoid Spam--
http://www.zdnet.com/zdhelp/stories/main/0,5594,2780781,00.html

Spam defined --
http://www.cybernothing.org/faqs/net-abuse-faq.html#2.1

Spam definition --
http://spam.abuse.net/whatisspam.html

Stopping SpamBots --
http://www.evolt.org/article/Stopping_Spambots_II_The_Admin_Strikes_Back/18/21392/index.html

WPoison, clobbers email harvesters --
http://www.monkeys.com/wpoison/


Message from DennisT

Yes I understand you too. The preceding contributor has said much useful information to all of us. I use a downloadable program called "Spam Punisher." It attempts to use the source/headers of the email to find out the IP and domain administrator and fires off an email to the IP admin. I find it quite useful but I don't know if it actually sends!


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