alt.spam FAQ or "Figuring out fake E-Mail & Posts". Rev 970906

Newsgroups: alt.2600,alt.spam,alt.newbie,,,,alt.answers,news.answers
Subject: alt.spam FAQ or "Figuring out fake E-Mail & Posts". Rev 970906
Date: 6 Sep 1997 21:16:34 GMT
Organization: FLORIDA ONLINE, Florida's Premier Internet Provider
Message-ID: <5ush7i$mcj$>
Summary: This posting describes how to find out where a fake post or e-mail originated from.

Archive-name: net-abuse-faq/spam-faq
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 970906

Greetings and Salutations:

This FAQ will help in deciphering which machine a fake e-Mail or post 
came from, and who (generally or specifically) you should contact.

The three sections to this eight portion FAQ (With apologies to 
Douglas Adams :-)) :

   o   Introduction
   o   Tracing an e-mail message
          o   MAILING LIST messages
   o   Reporting Spam and tracing a posted message
   o   What is an IP address and converting an IP address
          o   WWW IP Lookup URL's
          o   Converting that IP to a name
   o   A list of Usenet complaint addresses
          o   Trying to catch the suspect still logged on
   o   Filtering E-Mail using procmail or News with Gnus
          o   Rejecting E-Mail from domains that continue to Spam
   o   Misc. (Because I can't spell miscellaneous :-)) stuff
       I couldn't think to put anywhere else.
          o   Origins of Spam
          o   How *did* I get this unsolicited e-mail anyway?
          o   The MMF (Make Money Fast) Posts or any fraud on the Internet
          o   1-900, 1-800 and 1-809 may be expensive long distance phone calls
          o   How To Respond to SPAM
   o   Revenge - What to do & not to do (mostly not)
          o   Telephoning someone
          o   Snail Mailing someone

Please feel free to repost this, e-mail it, put this FAQ on CD's or 
any other media you can think of.

This is addition to the most excellent:

Net Abuse FAQ (posted to, alt.current- etc...), brought to you by J.D. Falk 
<> :

Spam cancellation notice (spam guidelines) : for info on NoCeM

Currently the biggest net abusers,  AGIS and CyberPromo FAQ: - Send a complaint to AGIS.NET if they 
are bouncing your complaints back

Software to track the headers / eliminate Spam for you : - Linux FreeBSD Amiga Solaris IRIX 
and soon a Eudora plugin - Windows Spam Hater
BODY: open
      cd /pub/net-services
      get spamhl.exe
      quit - WWW Spam tools - Works with windows e-mail programs 
that uses pop mail

Spammers and how to stop them : - Trying to legislate against Spam - Spam cleanup 
charges - getit4u.txt has a Spam section

E-Mail headers and tracing tools FAQs and links: - Macintosh Spam fighting - Windows Internet 
Utilities - 
Remailer Info - Fight 

News and E-Mail Spam Info in other languages: - Denmark Spam page & spammer info - A general intro to news in 
Japanese - What is a header in Japanese - Russian spam & headers page - French Spam page - Dutch anti spam site

Or why Netabuse is bad :

What the alt.binaries.slack Organization has done to fight Spam :

The latest & greatest version of this Spam FAQ is found at:
Or *nicely* HTML'ed at:
Or the archive at:

PLEASE email follow-ups, additions / changes to

My news source is OK, but I sometimes miss items.

There are places in this FAQ with ALL CAPS.  This is where I need some 
help or input.  I accept all and any input.  I consider myself to be 
the manager of this FAQ for the good of everyone, not the absolute & 
controlling Owner Of The FAQ.  I do not always write in a completely 
coherent manner.  What makes sense to me may not make sense to others.  
If the community wants something added or deleted, I will do so.  I 
removed any e-mail and last name references to someone making a 
suggestion / addition.  This is so that someone doesn't get upset at 
this FAQ and do something stupid.  If you don't mind having your e-
mail in this FAQ (or where it is required), please tell me and I will 
add it back in.

First off, before trying to determine where the post or e-mail 
originated from, you should realize that (just like the National 
Inquirer, or a logical argument from C&S) the message will have *some* 
amount of truth, but all or most of the information may be forged.  Be 
careful before accusing someone.

Commands used in this FAQ are UNIX & VMS commands.  Sorry if they 
don't work for you, you might wish to try looking around at your 
commands to find an equivalent command (or I might be able to help out 

And no, I am not going to tell you how to post a fake message or fake 
e-mail.  It only took me about 2 days (a few hours a day) to figure it 
out.  It ain't difficult.  RTFM (or more appropriately, Read The 
@&%^@# RFC).

Every e-mail or post will have a point at which it was injected into 
the information stream.  E-mail will have a real computer from which 
it was passed along.  Likewise a post will have a news server that 
started passing the post.  You need to get cooperation of the 
postmaster at the sites the message passed thru.  Then you can get 
information from the logs telling you what sites the message actually 
passed thru, and where the message "looked" like it passed thru (but 
actually didn't).  Of course you do have to have the cooperation of 
all the postmasters in a string of sites...

        Tracing an e-mail message

First (and easiest) thing to forge is the e-mail return address.  Most 
personal computer posting software lets you type in just about any e-
mail address you want to (for example the software I am using to post 
this message).  Unless someone is a real idiot or they truly don't 
know they will annoy tons of people, they will forge a fake e-mail 
return or put in the e-mail of someone they don't like.

It seems that most machines will accept e-mail from any other machine, 
so don't send e-mail to postmasters at "upstream" sites that are just 
passing the message along.

You will need to take a look at the headers on the message (if you 
can) In PINE (for example) you have to turn on the header option in 
setup, then just hit "h" to get headers.  In Eudora for the Macintosh, 
just press the button labeled "Blah Blah Blah" and you will get the 
header.  In Eudora for the IBM PC, go under Tools menu, then under 
options, then to Fonts and Display and enable the "show all headers 
(even the ugly ones)" option.

Look for a line like the following:
Message-ID: <>

You should look at the message ID first & see what site it appeared to 
come from (the part after the "@" sign).  If it is a bunch of numbers 
(an IP address) then you should then do a "nslookup" (see further 
below for a description of nslookup) to see what the site name is.  
Furthermore all the message-ID lines should have a unique number.  If 
not then you have someone who is *very* familiar with the SMTP 
protocol and is forging the e-mail to another site (like the Euphoria 
Tape spammer).  Sometimes this header will even tell you who the 
message actually came from.

From the below, the only way we can tell the origin site is in the 
Message-Id (which has an IP of is to do a nslookup on 
the IP address, and proceed from there.

Gregory tells us that assuming a reasonably standard and recent 
sendmail setup, a Received line that looks like :

Received: from host1 (host2 [ww.xx.yy.zz]) by host3
        (8.7.5/8.7.3) with SMTP id MAA04298; Thu, 18 Jul 1996 12:18:06 

shows four pieces of useful information (reading from back to front, 
in order of decreasing reliability):
 - The host that added the Received line (host3)
 - The IP address of the incoming SMTP connection (ww.xx.yy.zz)
 - The reverse-DNS lookup of that IP address (host2)
 - The name the sender used in the SMTP HELO command when they
   connected (host1).

>Received: from [] ( []) by
>sirocco.CC.McGill.CA (8.6.12/8.6.6) with SMTP id EAA16681; Sat, 11 
Nov 1995
>04:50:30 -0500
>X-SMTP-Posting-Origin: [] ( 
>X-Sender: (Unverified)
>Message-Id: <v0153051facca0e1e11d6@[]>

If I see that e-mail was passed to me thru a "mule" (someone using an 
open SMTP port to reroute e-mail to me) I usually send the postmaster 
something like the following :
postmaster@XXXXX - Your SMTP mail server XXXXX was used as a mule to 
pass (and waste your system resources) this e-mail on to me.  You can 
stop your SMTP port from allowing rerouting of e-mail back outside of 
your domain if you wish to.  FYI only.  See:
Test it at :

There are some systems that "claim" to "cloak" e-mail.  It is not 
true.  If you receive one that looks like the following :
Received: from (root@[]) by (8.8.5/8.8.5) with ESMTP id KAA28969 for 
<>; Thu, 26 Jun 1997 10:41:46 -0400 (EDT)
Received: from --- CLOAKED! ---
Received: from ( []) by (0.0.0./0.0.0.) with SMTP id AAA000000 for 
<>; Thu, 26 Jun 1997 3:54:37 -0500 (EST)
It is still broken down as follows :
 - The route the e-mail took originated from the system above the line 
marked "cloaked".  There is no magic to it.  Complain to that 
provider.  If you get no response from the site that spammed, you 
should ask your provider to no longer allow the above site 
[] to connect to your system.
 - Whois showed the site to be (and as of yet my complaints to 
mattm@IDCI.COM have been ignored) :
   Netname: IDCI-BLK-11
   Netblock: -
 - Ignore the lines below "cloaked" they are just there to add 
 - Ignore any IP that is greater than 255 or (as in the above) start 
with 0.  These are not allowable IP addresses.

Sample fake e-mail message :

From A@b.c.d Sat Nov 11 13:16 EST 1995
Received: from ( []) by (8.6.11/8.6.9) with ESMTP id NAA04656 for 
<>; Sat, 11 Nov 1995 13:16:03 -0500
Received: from ( []) by (8.6.12/8.6.9) with SMTP id KAA27279 for; Sat, 11 Nov 1995 10:27:52 -0800
Received: from ( []) by (8.6.11/8.6.9) with ESMTP id OAA18017 for 
<>; Tue, 24 Oct 1995 14:09:46 -0400
Received: from ( 
[]) by (8.6.12/8.6.9) with SMTP id LAA02685 
for <>; Tue, 24 Oct 1995 11:21:12 -0700

This is a mail message I sent to myself just to use as an example.  I 
have cut out a bit of the other header information so that I could 
take a look at just the important parts.

Obvious faked piece is the "From" address.  You read the headers from 
the bottom to the top to trace which sites the message has gone thru.

Make sure that you do a nslookup on the IP address's (for example I 
would verify actually is  If the IP 
doesn't jive with the name then you may have the IP address of the e-
mail faker.  BE SURE to verify the IP address.  Windows '95 machines 
place the name of the machine as the "name" and place the real IP 
address after the name, meaning a spammer can give a legitimate "name" 
of someone else to get them in trouble.  A spammer at cyberpromo 
changed their mail answer so that it claimed to be from Compuserve.  
The Received line looked like the below, but a quick verification of 
the IP address showed it was indeed from cyberpromo :

Received: from ( []) 

The above message IP's decode to the following = = =

From site               To site            Date / Time (delta GMT)
                                                Time in GMT hh:mm:ss
==============================================================     Tue, 24 Oct 1995 11:21:12 -0700
                                                      18:21:12 Tue, 24 Oct 1995 14:09:46 -400
                                                      18:09:46     Sat, 11 Nov 1995 10:27:52 -800
                                                      18:27:52 Sat, 11 Nov 1995 13:16:03 -500

The first is WULT (WULT == Widely Unknown Local Time :-)) 
with a delta from GMT, so you add in the delta to get a "zero" time.  
The time is from the computer transmitting, so it is possible to have 
the clocks several minutes apart.
GMT = Greenwich Mean Time.  The "time" was kept at RGO (Royal 
Greenwich Observatory?), Greenwich England at one time and is also 
known as UTC (UTC = Coordinated Universal Time, or Universal 
Coordinated Time) or "Zulu" or Zero time.  It is kept by the UK 
National Physical Laboratory, and is no longer at the RGO (Royal 
Greenwich Observatory?).

I manually inserted the first two mail transfers myself (as you can 
see from the date / times) to muddy the waters.  It looks like this 
message originated from, when in reality it came 
from  The date / time (in this case) tells you that 
something is wrong, but sometimes a computer may be down along the way 
which would hold up the mail.

You really need cooperation from other people & get multiple messages 
to compare the headers.  There will be a common "injection" point.  
Whether it is the starting point or in the middle.  Ask that 
postmaster  to look thru the logs & figure out who sent that e-mail.  
Someone from the first common injection point "From" site spammed out 
the e-mail.

It has been kindly pointed out to me that there is a "feature" (read 
"bug") in the UNIX mail spool wherein the person e-mailing you a 
message can append a "message" (with the headers) to the end of their 
message.  It makes the mail reader think you have 2 messages when the 
joker that sent the original message only sent one message (with a 
fake message appended).  If the headers look *really* screwy, you 
might look at the message before the screwy message and consider if it 
may not be a "joke" message.

There are also IBM mainframes that do not include the machine that 
they received the SMTP traffic from.  You have to route the message 
(with headers) back to the postmaster at that system and ask them to 
tell you what the IP of the machine is that hooked into their system 
for that message.

It has also been pointed out that someone on your server can telnet 
back to the mail port and send you mail.  This also makes the forgery 
virtually untraceable by you, but as always your admin should be able 
to catch the telnet back to the server.  If they telnet to a foreign 
SMTP server and then use the "name" of a user on that system, it may 
appear to you that the message came from that user.  Be very careful 
when making assumptions about where the e-mail came from.

        MAILING LIST messages
Stephanie kindly tells me :

A MAILING LIST is a type of email distribution in which email is sent 
to a fixed site which holds a list of email recipients and mail is 
distributed to those recipients automatically (or through a 

A LISTSERVER is a software program designed to manage one or more 
mailing lists.  One of the more popular packages is named "LISTSERV".  
Besides Listserv, other popular packages include Listproc which is a 
Unix Listserv clone (Listservs originated on BITNET), Majordomo and 
Mailserve.  Most importantly -- not all mailing lists run on 
listservers, there are many mailing lists that are manually managed.

You may hear of mailing lists being referred to as many things, some 
strange, some which on the surface make sense, like "email discussion 
groups".  But this isn't accurate either, since not all mailing lists 
are set up for discussion.

Example Header appears below:
Received: from ( []) by (8.7.5/8.6.9) with SMTP id GAA27292 for <>; 
Sun, 5 May 1996 06:31:15 +0900 (JST)
Received: from by with SMTP (PP) using DNS  
id <>; Sat, 4 May 1996 20:56:49 +0100
Received: from (actually by  with SMTP (PP); Sat, 4 May 1996 21:13:03 +0100
Received: by (8.6.12/8.6.12) id PAA29156; Sat, 4 
May 1996 15:35:53 -0400
Date: Sat, 4 May 1996 15:35:53 -0400
Message-ID: <>
Subject: CRaZy Complimentary Offer........

This is a post from Kevin Lipsitz for his "===>> FREE 1 yr. USA 
Magazine Subscriptions".  Reports are that he doesn't provide very 
good service after the sale of the subscription (that is if you even 
get a magazine).  In relation to the Internet he makes a slimy used 
car salesman look like a saint.  We won't even start to discuss the 
fact the he likes to use female names for his messages...

The latest information indicates that the state of New York has told 
him he should stop abusing the Internet for a while ... lets hope it 
is forever.

For more info about "Krazy Kevin" or the Magazine Spam , Tony tells us 
the page "Stop Spam!" is available in html format at:

But as David reminds us, There are a million Kevin J. Lipsitz's out 
there.  All selling magazines, Amway, vitamins, phone service, etc.  
All the losers who want to get rich quick, but can't start their own 
Like :

That having been said, e-mail from a Listserve can usually be broken 
down the same way as "normal" e-mail headers.  There are just more 
waypoints along the way.  As you can see from the above, the e-mail 
originated from :

You might with to also direct the listserve owner to look at & ask 
questions in about how to keep spam off the 
listserve.  It probably won't be all that difficult of a thing to do.

 Reporting Spam and tracing a posted message
If someone posts a message with your e-mail in the From: or Reply-To: 
field, it can (and will if you request) be canceled.  Please repost 
the message to WITH THE HEADERS (or it will 
probably be ignored) so that the message cam be canceled (the message-
id is the most important) with a suggested subject of the following:

Subject: FORGERY <Subject from the Spam message>

Try to make sure that the message has not already been posted to, or and that it is less than 4 or 5 days old.  
Chris reminds us that yes, there are a lot of annoying, off-topic and 
stupid postings out there.  But that doesn't make it spam.  _Really_.  
All we're concerned with is _volume_.   Don't report any potential 
spams unless you see at least two copies in at least 4 groups.  The 
content is irrelevant.  Spam canceling cannot be by content.

For off topic posts, see

The first thing to do is to post the ENTIRE message (PLEASE put the 
header in or it will probably be ignored) to the newsgroup  Do not reply or post it back to the 
original group.  A suggested subject is one of the following:

Subject: EMP <Subject from the Spam message>
Subject: ECP <Subject from the Spam message>
Subject: UCE <Subject from the Spam message>
Subject: SEX <Subject from the Spam message>

Please include the original Subject: from the original Spam so that it 
can easily be spotted.  Thank you.

An Excessive Multiple Post (EMP) may exceed the spam threshold and may 
be canceled.  An Excessive Cross Post (ECP) may not be canceled 
because it hasn't reached the threshold. A UCE is for Unsolicited 
Commercial Email, SEX is for off-topic sex-ad postings.

Make Money Fast message is immediately cancelable and are usually 
canceled already by others, so please do not report MMF posts.  See 
MMF section below.

Tracing a fake post is probably easier than a fake e-mail because of 
some posting peculiarities.  You just have to save and look at a few 
"normal" posts to try to spot peculiarities.  Most people are not 
energetic to go to the lengths of the below, but you never know.

Dan reminds us that first you should gather the same post from 
*several* different sites (get your friends to mail the posts to you) 
and look at the "Path" line.  Somewhere it should "branch".  If there 
is a portion that is common to all posts, then the "actual" posting 
computer is (most likely) in that portion of the path.  That should be 
the starting postmaster to contact.  Be sure to do this expeditiously 
because the log files that help to trace these posts may be deleted 

Once again, start by looking at the Message-ID, and ask yourself if 
that site makes sense.  Again, look at the number after the Message-ID 
and see if it is identical for several *different* posts (i.e. posts 
to different groups).  Message-ID's are unique for each *different* 
post.  If the Message-ID is the same, then it is faked.  If you 
*really* want to see some fake posts, look in alt.test or in the 
alt.binaries.wares.* groups.

A fake post:

From: User)
Subject: Femdom In Search of Naughty Boys
Message-ID: <>
Sender: User)
Organization: Internet Direct, Inc.
X-Newsreader: Trumpet for Windows[Version 1.0 Rev B final beta #1]
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 1995 01:59:38 GMT
Lines: 13

This poor lady (Name deleted by suggestion) was abused by someone for 
a couple of days in an epic spam.  Many messages were gathered.  The 
message ID was different for several messages.  But several anomalies 
showed an inept poster.

The headers were screwed up, and when looking at a selection of 
messages from several sites, the central site was, 
where gets / injects news at.  This lead to the conclusion 
that either or should be contacted to see 
who the original spammer was. I never heard the results of this, but 
the spamming eventually stopped.

E-Mail return is probably the easiest to fake and is * always * 
suspect.  The NNTP-Posting-Host and / or Message-ID are harder to fake 
(but not *much* harder...) and probably deserve a closer look at those 

You can try looking at sites & see if they have that message by :
telnet 119
Connected to
200 InterNetNews server INN 1.4 22-Dec-93 
head <>

Message was not found at that site, so it did not go thru that 
computer, or the article has already expired or been deleted off of 
that news reader.

If you wish to track a particular phrase, user-id (whatever) take a 
look at the URL for getting all the posts pertaining to "X" :

What is an IP address and converting an IP address
When all you have is a number the looks like "", and no 
computer name, then you have to figure out what the name of that 
computer is.  Most likely if you complain to " 
postmaster@[] " it will go directly to the spammer 
themselves (if it goes anywhere at all).

    WWW IP Lookup URL's
A whole *host* of WWW IP utils is thoughtfully provided by Mike at :
Or Yet Another Traceroute :
For a WWW version of Dig :
SWITCH WHOIS Gateway: - Worldwide Domain lookup
IP to Lat - Lon (For those times when only a Tactical Nuke will do ;-
)) :
Yet Another IP to name:

Converting that IP to a name
If the site is a IP address like "", you can do a DNS lookup 
to backtrack the site.  A DNS lookup or a host command (see example 
below) uses the info in a Domain Name Server database.  This is the 
same info that is used for packet routing.  The UNIX command is :


And you get :

If you are having problems with this, Josh suggests you try :

$ nslookup
Default Server:

> set type=ptr

Non-authoritative answer:    name =

Authoritative answers can be found from:
126.183.204.IN-ADDR.ARPA        nameserver =
126.183.204.IN-ADDR.ARPA        nameserver =      Internet address =       Internet address =

InterNIC is your friend. The InterNIC Registration Services Host 
contains ONLY Internet Information (Networks, ASN's, Domains, and 
POC's).  Please use the whois server at for MILNET 
Information.  Try :


If that doesn't provide anything, try chopping off the last digits and 
you might get:
Whois: 204.162.179

Success!  BARRNet has the blocks of the IP's.

John tells us :
Um yes, but that particular sub-block belongs to  barrnet 
is obviously's provider, the barrnet block looks like 4 class 
B's (or 256 THOUSAND IP's..), while the block is a mere 32 
class C's (or 8 thousand IP's)...
So a whois NETBLK-SLIP gives us (among other information) :
   Netname: NETBLK-SLIP
   Netblock: -

Dan has said that the NIC technical contact is the address to contact 
if there is a technical problem with the name service records for that 
domain.  Sending spam notifications to the zone tech contact is an 
abuse of the NIC whois records.  Sending to the admin contact is 
marginally more justifiable, but should only be used after postmaster 
has been tried.

To see who the upstream provider is, try :

multinet traceroute

You might get :
traceroute to IP30.ABQ-DIALIN.HOLLYBERRY.COM (, 30 hops 
max, 38 byte packets
 1 (  190 ms  210 ms  120 ms
 2 (  100 ms  100 
ms  60 ms
 3 (  180 ms  130 ms  70 ms
 4 (  150 ms  140 ms  
150 ms
 5 (  180 ms  200 ms  
180 ms
 6 (  170 ms  290 ms  
240 ms
 7 (  300 ms  210 ms  
270 ms
 8 (  180 ms  240 ms  180 ms
 9 (  290 ms  220 ms  230 ms
10  * * *

Humm..... Seems that after we get no 
response, so *that* is who I would complain to... or you can just send 
a message to

JamBreaker sez : Be sure to let the traceroute go until the traceroute 
stops after 30 hops or so.  A reply of "* * *" doesn't mean that 
you've got the right destination; it just means that either the 
gateways don't send ICMP "time exceeded" messages or that they send 
them with a ttl (time-to-live) too small to reach you.

Try  'dig' (or one of its derivatives), it is used to search DNS 
records :
(For the software :

yourhost> dig -x

; <<>> dig 2.0 <<>> -x
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY , status: NOERROR, id: 6
;; flags: qr aa rd ra ; Ques: 1, Ans: 1, Auth: 3, Addit: 3
;;, type = ANY, class = IN

;; ANSWERS:      86400   PTR

;; AUTHORITY RECORDS:     86400   NS     86400   NS     86400   NS

;; ADDITIONAL RECORDS:     86400   A    86400   A    86400   A

;; Sent 1 pkts, answer found in time: 64 msec
;; FROM: (yourhostname) to SERVER: default -- (yourDNSip)
;; WHEN: Thu Nov 16 23:30:42 1995
;; MSG SIZE  sent: 43  rcvd: 216

 A list of Usenet complaint addresses
O.K... So you have a common site that you can complain to.  Good.  If 
you cannot figure out where the message came from, you can post the 
FULL HEADERS (this is *very* important for tracing) to
abuse.misc, or 
(see the section entitled Reporting Spam and tracing a posted 
message).  Usually you can get someone to help with the message.

If you complain to the spammer directly, you may just be confirming a 
"real" live e-mail address, which may lead to even more junk e-mail.  
I would suggest complaining to the owner of the site only.  You can 
send e-mail to  (where is the 
provider you are complaining to) and it will get forwarded to the 
"best" e-mail address.. See

There is a list of admins to contact (besides the list contained 

Greg reminds us that if you are complaining to a postmaster about a 
week-old post, don't bother.  It's not on their server, they can't 
verify it.  Make sure you use terms correctly.  A recent trend is to 
call any off-topic post "spam".  It's not.  I deal with spammers and 
off-topic or advertising posters differently.  Other providers do 
also.  Also, try to keep the clutter in your complaints down.  I don't 
need a copy of the referenced RFC or statute.  It doesn't help either 
of us if I can't find your complaint in between all the mumbo jumbo.

Send complaint with FULL HEADERS in e-mail to any or all of the below 

Note : and are not "standard" complaint 
e-mail addresses, but I have seen those listed more and more 

A nice Perl script put together to complain about spam (by Nate) is at 

Chris tells us :
If you see MMFs or other gross abuses from AOL, MSN, MCI 
(_not_internetmci), Primenet, Panix, please do not report them to  Just wastes bandwidth.  Email your report 
directly to the provider:

By "gross abuses", please try to ensure that it really is likely to be 
spam.  Not one article cross-posted lots, but lots of articles that 
you see yourself.  In AOL or MCI's case, the definition of abuse is 
somewhat stricter (AOL bans commercial use.  MCI's tolerance 
thresholds is lower)

For the following providers the correct e-mail address is: / - Connectivity by  Send 
complaints to or
ABSnet - or
AGIS.NET - You can complain to postmaster@AGIS.NET or , 
but it is probably a waste of your time.  AGIS.NET should be UDP'ed 
(Usenet Death Penalty, i.e. no Usenet (news) connectivity to or from 
AGIS.NET), and cut off from all SMTP mail exchanges. They do not put 
any restrictions on SPAM sent out by their customers.  I complained 
enough to (they provide connectivity to AGIS.NET for 
me, found thru a traceroute) and eventually I stopped getting all SPAM 
from CyberPromo.  AGIS.NET is partially owned by
For the full story on AGIS.NET see :
Aloha.Net - 
AOL - Emergency - send complete copies to or - - See
AT&T WorldNet Services - -
Bellsouth - - - - - 
CAIS acceptable use
Com.BR - Policy - security violations write the 
Compuserve - compumail or or POSTMASTER@COMPUSERVE.COM, compunews 
NEWSMASTER@COMPUSERVE.COM - You can try postmaster@AGIS.NET since they provide 
connectivity but see above.  You can try contacting, or 
or any of the other backbone providers.  Maybe they can do something.
For the full story on see : -, or
DejaNews - - See - (along with your name & postal address 
(including city & state)
aup.html - - See CyberPromo
Direct.CA - - or - Acceptable use -
Exec-PC Inc. - - - (does not exist, it is faked) - See UUNET -
GNN.Com - For help regarding a problem with a GNN member - - - Another AGIS.NET spamming domain.  See AGIS.NET
Hongkong's ISPs - send an email to with anything 
in the subject/body. You'll get a most recent version of the list 
contacts by email within minutes.
IBM Net - - Also see
IDT.Net -, but is an emergency 
contact - or psinet-domain-admin@PSI.COM - Mr. K H Lee -
INS Info Services ( - 
iSTAR Canada (,,,, or - -
LAKER.NET or VOICE 1-954-359-3670 FAX 1-954-359-2741
LLV.COM - Yet another Spam domain that uses as a provider.
Loop.Com or -
MCI Net - spamcomplaints@MCI.NET  For security problems see
Campus.MCI.Net -
MCSNet - - See - Note : Mindspring is no longer 
affiliated with INTERRAMP.COM or -
MS.UU.Net - Example and explicitly 
contains an MSN e-mail address ( -
MS.UU.Net - Example and does not have -
Netcom or any account with an address -  for standard SPAM junk. is for 
instances of forgery, cracking etc. NetCruiser Technical Support -  For a Netcom network customer (like send e-mail to -
NEVWEST.COM - Yet another AGIS Spam domain in conjunction with 
LLV.COM. -, -, bounced 
back to me.
PIPEX-, International -, 
Unipalm PIPEX - -
Prodigy - or (but many times 
this mailbox is full).  I don't think is read 
by a person.  Security issues can be sent to .
pwrnet -
PSI Net -, PSI Net policies - ... Note : Earthlink uses 
PSINet's pops
QUANTCOM.COM - See  A long time reputation of spamming on 
the Internet. - - See
Slip Net - - Tech Support - - See
Sprint -
Sprintlink - 800-669-8303,  For abuse reports send to .  For abuse reports send to .  You can 
view Sprint's Policy at
sprynet -
Teleport System Administration - - -
University of Pennsylvania - - For security 
matters :
Other matters:
USA.Net -
UUNET Customer Liaison  -  MASSMAIL (E-Mail SPAMS) -, 
Newsgroup Spams - See Also 
MS.UU.Net - For abuse of the open UUNET NNTP port, UUNET will block 
the site if you complain.  See

From : David Jackson ( (and this applies to *any* 
abuse) :
To report an instance of USENET abuse send mail to 
- please remember to include a complete copy of the USENET article, 
including all headers, to help us quickly quash the abuse.

Scott reminds us :
It might also be a good idea to remind people that sometimes the 
postmaster _is_ the spammer. Joe Spam might have his own domain (since 
they _used_ to be free) inside of which they are the postmaster. This 
is terrifyingly common with net.twits (kooks, etc.) but seems rare for 
spam. A quick note that if the spammer is the admin contact in whois, 
notifying the postmaster will surely generate laughs on their end.

In the letter to the postmaster, you might wish to mention Joel's very 
good FAQ about advertising on the Internet :

And where they *should* advertise :

Or for why posting business or e-mailing business ads are bad :

If you don't get a proper response from the postmaster, remember, 
Whois - is your friend.  You can get information on / 
about a site by:


The InterNIC Registration Services Host contains ONLY Internet 
Information (Networks, ASN's, Domains, and POC's).  Please use the 
whois server at for MILNET Information.

This *should* get you a person to talk to & their personal e-mail 
address.  If you don't get any response from that postmaster, then you 
should try the provider to that site.  This gets a little trickier, 
but a multinet traceroute should show you the upstream provider, and 
from there you can try contacting the postmasters of *that* site.

Any non-profit organization (like a University) should be very happy 
to help get rid of a spammer if the non-profit organizations resources 
are being used to spam a for-profit business.  The IRS can take their 
non-profit status away for such things.  Talk to the legal council at 
the non-profit organization if you don't get a positive response from 
the postmaster.

Worst case, a site can be UDP (Usenet Death Penalty) out so that other 
sites stop accepting news or even e-mail from that site.  They are cut 
off from the net.  Decisions like this are discussed in the news group .

Thanx to Leslie, whom to contact about domains that have invalid 
contact information :
Internic Registration Services should be contacted by phone:
 or email:

If the spammer site has problems trying to figure out where the spam 
came from, they can *always* get help from the denizens of, but have them take a look at their logs 
first and see if they see something like (Thanks to help from 

My news logs (for INND) are:
$ cd /usr/log/news
$ ls
OLD                expire.log         news.err           unwanted.log
errlog             news               news.notice
expire.list        news.crit          nntpsend.log

and here is my syslog.conf:
## news stuff
news.crit               /usr/log/news/news.crit
news.err                /usr/log/news/news.err
news.notice             /usr/log/news/news.notice               /usr/log/news/news
news.debug              /usr/log/news/news.debug

but, what they need to remember, is they HAVE TO LOOK QUICK!.  INND 
expire puts all these logs in OLD, and recycles them, and expires them 
at the 7th day (and gzips them), i.e., OLD/:
ls -l news.?.*
-r--r-----  1 news      news         181098 May 23 06:26 news.1.gz
-r--r-----  1 news      news         319343 May 17 06:29 news.7.gz

so... to grep an old log looking for
(the {nn} is how many days ago, 1 is yesterday, 2 is 2 days ago, etc)
cd {log/OLD}
gunzip -c news.1.gz | grep | more

   Trying to catch the suspect still logged on

If you think you know a machine close to the spammer, you can change 
your default DNS lookup server (and get *lots* more info ;-)) by :
$ nslookup
> server
Default Server:
> ls -d
[]                       SOA (10 
21600 3600604800 86400)                       NS                       NS                       MX    10                       SOA (10 
21600 3600604800 86400)

If you are quick enough, you can see if the spammer is still on by :

multinet RUSERS

And you might get :

kuller ray timbers jweinman timbers john timbers rayzer

Assuming that the spammer is from you can expand the 
Spammers UserID (some sites have expn / vrfy turned off) by:

> telnet smtp
Trying ...
Connected to
Escape character is '^]'.
220 Sendmail 4.1/SMI-4.1 ready at Sun, 22 Oct 95 15:13:39 
expn krazykev
250 Lipsitz Kevin <>

We connect to port 25 (smtp) and issues an expn command.  Looks like is being used as a maildrop for this user.  I'll 
would send my complaint to as well (not that it 
would do any good in Krazy Kevin's case...  but the reply to your e-
mail might be amusing).

To find out the Mail Exchange records, do a nslookup for the MX 
records only.  You can then look up the expansion of the postmaster or 
root to see who they really are.  For example :
% nslookup
> set type=mx
> preference = 20, mail exchanger = preference = 10, mail exchanger =

% telnet smtp
220 ESMTP Sendmail 8.7.1/8.6.9 ready at Thu, 11 Jan 
1996 12:54:26 -0500 (EST)
expn postmaster
250 <>
expn root
250 <>

You can use the 'host' command. It's really simple:
% host -t any

This will give you anything your name server can find out.

% host -t ns

This tells you the name servers. Not all systems have host, but it's a 
small program which should be easy to compile (like whois).

The command "last" will tell where the spammer logged on from last, 
but it has to be done by a user from that site. For example :

last imrket4u

Would produce :

imrket4u     ttypf Fri Sep 15 00:27 
- 00:34 (00:06)
imrket4u     ttyq8 Fri Sep 15 00:19 
- 00:20 (00:01)
imrket4u     ttyqc    abq-ts1              Thu Sep 14 20:42 - 22:21  
imrket4u     ttyqc         Thu Sep 14 18:39 - 18:41  
imrket4u     ttypb    abq-ts1              Thu Sep 14 17:55 - 17:57  

Filtering E-Mail using procmail or News with Gnus

Get the procmail FAQ :

Or read about it when it is posted to :
Newsgroups: comp.mail.misc , comp.mail.elm , comp.mail.pine , 
comp.answers , news.answers
Subject: Filtering Mail FAQ

Bob tells me that Eudora Pro has a good filtering capability.  You can 
filer based on who you send e-mail to, known spammers, etc.  Enough 
filters and you may see hardly any Spam.  Claris E-Mailer, likewise, 
has a filter option.

Brian has a Gnus scorefile from the Internet blacklist :

Or his example global scorefile :

Many news readers have a "kill" file that will filter out the posts 
from either a certain user-id, or posts with certain titles.  Each 
news reader is unique.  You might wish to read the help file on the 
subject of kill files.

Rejecting E-Mail from domains that continue to Spam
Spamfilters can be found at:

List of spammers:

Or look at a page on how to block e-mail :

Ask your admin to add the following to their  This will 
reject all mail that continues to come in from domains that only send 
out spam.  This is a group effort from many admins :
Modify your in the following way.
1. Setup a hash table with the domains you wish to block:
# Bad domains (spam kings)

2. Add the following rules to S98 (be sure that there are three lines 
(i.e. the lines are not split up) and be sure to put a TAB character 
between the $* and the $#error, not a space) :
### Spam blockage
R$* < @$*$=K . > $*	$#error $@ 5.1.3 $: "Your domain has been 
blocked due to spam problems.  Contact your administrator."
R$* < @$*$=K > $*	$#error $@ 5.1.3 $: "Your domain has been blocked 
due to spam problems.  Contact your administrator."

3. Make your hash table.  Here are some suggestions :

Mail that comes in from any of these domains will be returned to 
sender with the error.  If the sender is bogus, it will bother the 
postmaster at the bad domain in an appropriate manner.

Keep in mind that *ALL* email from these domains will be blocked.  
This is really only a good solution for domains that are setup by 
spammers for spamming.  Blocking something like, although it 
may seem initially attractive ;-), would cause problems for legitimate 
users of email in that domain.  Compile your list after careful 
verification that these domains fit the above description.

   Origins of Spam
The history of calling inappropriate postings in great numbers "Spam" 
is from a Monty Python skit (yes, it is very silly... see ) where a couple go 
into a restaurant, and the wife tries to get something other than 
Spam.  In the background are a bunch of Vikings that sing the praises 
of Spam.  Pretty soon the only thing you can hear in the skit is the 
word "Spam".  That same idea would happen to the Internet if large 
scale inappropriate postings were allowed.  You couldn't pick the real 
postings out from the Spam.

Bob's alternate view is that SPAM is an acronym for Send Phenomenal 
Amounts of Mail.

To join a discussion list for Spams, send a message to
In the body of the message type :
   subscribe spamad your_name your_affiliation

Or a real mailing list for the discussion on spamming and  about what 
is and/or isn't possible in dealing with this problem.  If you would 
like to join the mailing list send mail to with the 
following message in the body :
   subscribe spam-list [preferred address]

Black listed Internet Advertisers :  (Europe)
    or (USA)

First off, the only CORRECT way to "Spam" the net :
Show SPAM Gifts
Or for the free SPAM recipe Book ($1.00 postage and handling) :
SPAM recipe Book, P.O. Box 5000, Austin, MN 55912
Or for SPAM merchandise and apparel call 1-800-LUV-SPAM

The Church of Spam :

There is also a letter circulating about "dying boy wants postcards" 
(Craig Shergold) which is no longer true.  Same as with the Blue Star 
LSD addicting children hoax.  See Urban Folklore FAQ at :

A complete Urban Legends listings (It is big) :

There has been some discussion that such things should be canceled 
because they exceed the BI 20 index.  They are untrue and they waste 

How *did* I get this unsolicited e-mail anyway?
Unfortunately just posting a message to a news group can get 
unsolicited e-mail.  Some spammers "harvest" e-mail addresses by 
stripping e-mail return addresses out of messages people post.  Try 
posting to alt.test a few times.  You will get not only a few 
autoresponder messages (that is how it is *supposed* to work) but also 
a few unsolicited pieces of e-mail.

Another way to get e-mail is to have a World Wide Web page.  Some 
spammers just start a web spider (a piece of software that just 
traverses World Wide Web pages and collects information) going and 
collect e-mail that way.  A suggestion of some nasty little HTML items 
to have in your WWW page (invisible, of course) are :

<A HREF="mailto:root@[]"></a>
 or if your server allows "server-side includes" (and .shtml) :
<a href="mailto:abuse@<!--#echo var="REMOTE_ADDR"--> ">anti 

Also you might include a mail to news gateway like the following so 
that the Spam is posted to Usenet :

<A HREF=""></a>
<A HREF=""></a>
<A HREF=""></a>

Note : You should note on your World Wide Web page that these links 
should *not* be followed by Lynx users, as they will see them no 
matter how you choose not to display them on a graphical interface.  
The last few in the below list are particularly not nice as they 
execute commands on a UNIX host.  Substitute root@[] with any 
of the following :
postmaster abuse root admin postmaster@localhost abuse@localhost 
root@localhost admin@localhost postmaster@loopback abuse@loopback 
root@loopback admin@loopback
`cat /dev/zero > /tmp/...`@localhost
;cat /dev/zero > /tmp/...;@localhost
`umount /tmp`@localhost
;umount /tmp;@localhost

The MMF (Make Money Fast) Posts or any fraud on the Internet
For a list of countries where Make Money Fast is illegal see :

MMFs should be reported to the user and their postmaster and the 
following :

Federal Trade Commission Ms. Broder ( ), the staff 
attorney assigned to handle MMF.  f you have a question or comment 
regarding an antitrust or competition issue, please contact: . If you have a complaint or comment regarding a 
consumer protection issue, please contact: .
Fraud Department at the Internal Revenue Service net-
National Fraud Information Center (NFIC) (may not 
be working)
And the US Postal Inspection Service or

For more info on the Postal Chain Letters & where to send them, take a 
look at :

Complain reasonably politely with a copy of the USPS URL on MMFs.  
This stops 99%+ dead in their tracks.  I've only had one person resist 
the full treatment of getting the USPS web page dropped in their 
mailbox - but their system admin fixed him up right quick :->

Please, only report MMFs in if they're spam 
and you've seen it in lots of groups and / or the postmaster/user are 
defiantly stupid.

Rolf has created a page dedicated to making fun of MMF losers :

Or the MMF myth :

Keep track of On-Line Fraud, subscribe to the fraud discussion at :
To subscribe by email send a message to :
The body of the message to read :
join fraudnews

Hoaxes and scams :

Or for the latest scams :

Call 1-800-688-9889 for the phone and fax numbers of the federal law 
enforcement agencies near you.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission now has a web page 
specifically set up to take reports of financial scams promoted over 
the Internet.  Basically, anything that involves promoting stocks, 
bonds, and such comes under their authority.  A big fraction of the 
MAKE MONEY FAST postings fall in this category.  For the full story 
see : or Email:

Food and Drug Administration "Have you had a problem with a food, 
drug, cosmetic, medical device, radiation-emitting electronic product, 
or veterinary drug? Did it cause you an injury or was it insanitary or 
improperly labeled? Perform a public service and report the problem to 
the Food and Drug Administration." :

Also the FDA explains :
Complaints about the following should be made to the agencies listed. 
Consult your local telephone directory or public library for specific 
 o meat and poultry products: U.S. Department of Agriculture
 o sanitation in restaurants and cafeterias: local or state health 
 o unsolicited products in the mail: U.S. Postal Service
 o accidental poisonings: poison control centers or hospitals
 o pesticides, air, and water pollution: U.S. Environmental Protection 
 o hazardous household products (including appliances, toys and 
chemicals): Consumer Product Safety Commission
 o exposure to hazardous materials in the workplace: Occupational 
Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor
 o advertising and warranties: Federal Trade Commission (except 
advertising for prescription drugs, which is regulated by FDA)
 o dispensing and sales practices of pharmacies: State Board of 
 o medical practice: State Board of Healing Arts

There is a WWW site dedicated to *any* kind of fraud.  It is :
A partnership of the National Association of Attorneys General, the 
Federal Trade Commission and The National Consumers League

Wolfgang sez :IMHO MMF is associated with "Hello, my name is Dave 
Rhodes. In 198...".
There was also a forged article purporting to tell how MMF is illegal 
 From: (Melvin Purvis)
                              ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ he arrested / shot John 
 Subject: 'Make Money Fast' Scam

Jon said : "Hermann" appears to have spammed at least 27 Bitnet 
mailing lists, including TANGO-L, where I saw it, with a standard MMF. 
I checked at the US Post Office web site and verified that chain 
letters are federal crimes under Title 18, United State Code, Section 
1302. This does apply to email as well as paper; quoting from URL

From :
"Recently, high-tech chain letters have begun surfacing. They may be 
disseminated over the Internet, or may require the copying and mailing 
of computer disks rather than paper. Regardless of what technology is 
used to advance the scheme, if the mail is used at any step along the 
way, it is still illegal."
To find your nearest postal inspector in the USA, see URL
California MMF law :
I believe that the applicable Canadian description can be found at :
[French language version]
[English language version][jump!3A!27c34_
And from the Canadian Department of Justice server ( ):
COMPETITION - Definition of "scheme of pyramid selling" - Section 55.1

206. (1) Every one is guilty of an indictable offense and liable to 
imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years who . . .

Pyramid Schemes
55.1 (1) For the purposes of this section, "scheme of pyramid selling" 
means a multi-level marketing plan whereby ...

The law in Australia and where to send complaints to :
Ministry of Fair Trading
P O Box 6355


1-900, 1-800 and 1-809 may be expensive long distance phone calls
Be very careful when dialing a 1-800 or a long distance number you are 
not familiar with.  It may end up being a very expensive mistake.  
Remember to dial these numbers from a phone booth so that your home 
phone will never be charged.

All 1-800 numbers are *not* free.  See below.

Likewise, numbers that may "look" like they are United States long 
distance phone numbers may in fact be out of country and may cost you 
$25 or more for a couple of minutes call.  These calls are not 
refundable.  A scam artist trying to get money from the phone calls 
(he gets a skim off the top) was dialing random beepers with an out of 
country number.

Some area codes to look for :
1-809-XXX-XXXX - Virgin Islands and other Caribbean islands
1-242-XXX-XXXX - Bahamas
1-246-XXX-XXXX - Barbados
1-441-XXX-XXXX - Bermuda
1-787-XXX-XXXX - Puerto Rico

If the ad says "Procall", it is a large service bureau for 1-900 
numbers in Arizona.  When you call a pay-per-call number, there should 
be a recorded intro that will give a customer service number.  That 
*should* connect with a live person.

I would like to thank Eileen at the FTC for kindly answering my 
questions about 1-900 & 1-800 phone numbers.

Paraphrasing what she e-mailed me :
When a 1-900 number is advertised, the price must also be disclosed 
(this may be found at 16 CFR Part 308).

When calling a 1-800 number that charges, there must be an existing 
subscription agreement between the buyer and the seller Federal Trade Commission Home Page Telemarketing Sales Rule Telemarketing Sales Rule Online Scams Reporting fraud Consumer Line

(from the "Online Scams page)

For More Information
If you have a question or complaint about a suspect online ad or 
promotion, contact your commercial service provider. In addition, you 
can file complaints with your state attorney general, consumer 
protection office or with the Federal Trade Commission (write to: 
Correspondence Branch, Federal Trade Commission, 6th St. & 
Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20580). Also, contact the 
National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business 
Bureaus, 845 Third Avenue, New York, New York 10022.

Questions about whether or not an investment sales person is licensed, 
or if an offered security is registered, should be directed to the 
Office of Consumer Affairs, Securities and Exchange Commission, 202-

The National Fraud Information Center maintains a toll-free Consumer 
Assistance Service, 1-800-876-7060, to provide consumers with answers 
to questions about telephone or mail solicitations and online scams. 
They also offer information about how and where to report fraud and 
give help in filing complaints.
  Or fill out an on-line scam sheet :

Or E-Mail to in the form :
Your Name:  
Your email address:  

NFIC tells us:
We will try to respond as quickly as possible. We will not be able to 
respond if you have not included your e-mail address.
If you wish to inform us of an incident, please provide us with 
information about the company, the incident, your name and a snail 
mail address at which you can be reached.  Thank you.
Please, do not use this service to relay confidential information!

The Better Business Bureau has a web site at:
To give feedback, go directly to:

   How To Respond to SPAM

Howard reminds us :
Note to all:  NEVER followup to a spam.  NEVER.  Express your 
indignation in mail to the poster and/or the, but NEVER in the newsgroups!

Karen asks:
But what about the newbies who look at a group, see lots of spam and 
ads, see NO posts decrying them, and conclude that ads are therefore 

Ran replies :
When it gets bad,  you'll usually see some "What can we do about 
this?" threads.  That's a good place to attach a reply that tells 
people why it's bad, and what they can, in fact, do.

Austin Suggests:
At the risk of attracting flames, let me suggest an exception to 
Howard's law.  A followup is allowed if the following 3 conditions 
   1)  The offending article is clearly a SCAM (for instance, the 
*Canada* calls with the Seychelles Islands phone # scam)
   2) No one else has followed-up with a posting identifying it as a 
scam (in other words, no 'Me too' warnings)
   3) It is unlikely to be canceled soon, either because it seems to 
be below the thresholds, or it is in a local hierarchy that doesn't 
get cancels, or Chris Lewis is on vacation in the Seychelles Islands.  
If all three conditions are met, a followup that X's out the contact 
information , severely trims the contents and identifies the post as a 
scam is exempt from Howard's law.
Bill's and Wolfgang's addition :
   4) Follow-ups should be cross posted to 
_and_ the groups of the spam, but Followup-To: *MUST* be set to *ONLY*
post a follow-up and *SET* Followup-To:
In the first case change
 Subject: Important FREE $$$
 Subject: SPAM (was Re: Important FREE $$$)
and include the original Newsgroups and Message-ID line, so the 
professional despammers will immediately find what you're talking 
about.  Do not post unless you're absolutely sure that you can do all 
that properly. Also 1) - 3) do apply.

If you see the same article with different Message-IDs in several 
groups, collect the _complete_ headers of each article and check if it's already been reported. If not, start 
a thread with Subject: SPAM (was Re: <original Subject>) in Include all of the headers and as much of 
the body of one article as you see fit.

  Revenge - What to do & not to do

No matter how much we hate Spam and how much we dislike what the 
spammers to our quiet little corner of the Universe known as the 
Internet, Spam is not illegal (yet).  If you try anything against the 
spammers, please * do not * put yourself in risk of breaking the law.  
It only makes them happy if you get in trouble because you were trying 
to get back at them.

The reason why spammers use "throwaway" accounts is because they know 
the e-mail account will be deleted.  They usually provide either 
another e-mail address or a name / phone number or postal address so 
that prospective "customers" can be contacted.  Be sure to complain to 
the postmaster of all e-mail names provided to make sure that this 
route is inhibited.

 Telephoning someone

Calling someone once is fine.  If enough people are pissed at the 
spammer and they all call the 1-800 number the spammer provides, the 
spammer will get the idea (sooner or later) that it is costing them 
more in irate people (and most especially loss of business) and it is 
not worth it to spam.

Do not dial any phone numbers more than once from your home.  Phone 
harassment is * illegal * and you * can * be prosecuted in court for 
this. Even tho' *67 prevents your number from being displayed on their 
telephone at home if they have caller ID, *57 will give the phone 
company the number.  If it is a 1-800 number there are two problems.  
First they can *always* get your phone number, and secondly it may 
*not* be a toll free number.  You may be charged for calling a 1-800 

Likewise, do not call collect using 1-800-COLLECT or 1-800-CALL-ATT 
from home, once again this can be traced.

Austin comments : I would say that calling a listed non-800 number 
*once* collect to voice a complaint is not harassment, but justified.  
They sent you a postage due message, didn't they?  If they don't want 
to accept collect calls, they should say so - and if they do, you 
should be a responsible person and not do it again.

AT&T Information for 1-800 numbers is 1-800-555-1212, but that only 
helps if you know the company name you are trying to call.  Also, you 
can try searching for a 1-800 number (you do not have to know the 
company name) at :
         or (advanced search 

Other telephone search mechanisms:

Snail Mailing someone

Likewise, one well thought out letter sent to the spammer might help 
convince the spammer not to do this again.  Especially if the spammer 
was part of a corporation that didn't realize the detrimental effects 
of spamming the Internet.

If you decide to deluge the spammers postal address by filling out one 
or two "bingo" (popcorn) postage paid cards in the technical magazines 
(by circling a few dozen "product info" requests per card & putting on 
printed out self sticking labels with the spammers address), or by 
putting preprinted labels on postage paid cards that come in the mail 
in the little plastic packages, don't organize a public campaign (that 
they can point to) against the spammer in the newsgroup.

Scott also reminds us :
Since this is the "Spam FAQ", I'd like to point this out: You're 
basically Spamming the company offering information in a magazine.  It 
costs companies money, not the one you're spamming. They get a free 
pile of junk which is easy to throw out. In other words, this may be 
harming third parties more than the intended target.  I'm not trying 
to be Mr. Nice Guy, just trying to point out an important 

Junk Mail - The Law : - 'Lectric Law Library

You should also read Title 47 of the United States Code, Section 227. 
There is a FAQ at for the text of the law (gopher or 
ftp or ), and you can 
use DejaNews to read the USC 47 thread on to 
make up your own mind (it invariably comes up) or you can look at :

In Washington (State) (for example) fax laws (RCW 80.36.540 - 
Telefacsimile messages) define "telefacsimile message" in such a way 
that could be interpreted to include E-mail.  It was not originally 
written to cover E-Mail, but that is for the courts to decide :-).  
California regulates it thru Section 17538(d) of the Business and 
Professions Code.

Organizing a campaign against the spammer in a news group could lead 
to the spammer trying to get a cease & desist police order against the 

Disclaimer : I am not a lawyer, 80% of the Internet is bull, free 
advice is worth every penny you paid for it :-).

Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards for they are subtle and 
quick to anger.
E-Mail - - Gandalf The White O-  Ken Hollis
WWW Page -
WWW Trace E-Mail forgery -
WWW Trolls crossposts  -

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Last Update April 13 1998 @ 04:20 AM