Ever get a nasty email from a victim of email spammers? You ask yourself why are they sending these rants to me? Then you notice the junk mail the victim received is from a box on your website! Welcome to the club, as a website owner you’ve become a victim also. Your web email has been hijacked. Your good name abused. If you’re not careful, you will be banned from sending legitimate mail to ISPs (Internet Service Providers like AOL). That’s the situation we now face on our web design site. People are sending us angry emails and some are using the contact form on the website.
Imagine this is only the tip of the iceberg since most folks will just report our hijacked email address as Spam. So the angry messages at least give me an opportunity to fight back. I’ve become a “Spam C0p” and with this post, I’m deputizing any small business owner who may get trapped in this tangled web of deceit. Take a few minutes to read and bookmark for future use — you or someone you know may be next. Yes, you can help make a difference.
HUNTING SPAMMERS 101
These are excellent resources to learn more about the deceptive tactics. I’ve quoted some general snippets and given you links to read further.
- Ignore ‘junk’ but report fraudulent e-mail – “ If nothing else, perhaps you’ll save someone else from becoming a victim. “ – (tips on filing FTC complaint & using National Abuse Clearinghouse.)
- Find the source of the email – “Every email contains routing information that allows it to be traced back at least a few hops. For spam, this means you can often identify the origin and send effective complaints.” –(how to look up at different service providers .)
- A real life example – “ The spammer wants to make it look as if the message was sent from a Yahoo! Mail account. … is aimed at directing all bouncing messages and angry replies to a non-existing Yahoo! Mail account. “ (I now know what that’s like, the subject lines were almost put in my spam filter!)
Become a Spam Cop – “ Identifying the right people to complain to about spam and writing complaints efficiently unfortunately is not a trivial matter, however, and it takes a lot of time. This is where SpamCop can help. It analyzes your unsolicited email messages and sends sensible complaints to the right authorities on your behalf. “ – quote from About.com
MY FIGHT AGAINST HIJACKING
Obviously this is costing me time, money and goodwill. Reporting spam is the wrong way to get a visitor! Someone even called our toll free number from the UK! So I took these steps to raise awareness and point the rants in the right direction:
- Added a notice on the website sidebar:
NOTICE – If you’re about to write or call us concerning fraudulent email, be assured it did not originate from this website. The culprits hijack our good name and disguise the actual service provider’s address. We’re glad you’re not going to ignore it! And neither will we. Please visit this page for steps you can take to help stop them in their tracks.
and above the contact us form:
NOTICE – If you’re about to write us concerning fraudulent email, be assured it did not originate from this website. Using the form below allows you to vent but does not help us track the source. So instead, please forward the entire email you received to your service provider and ask them to investigate. If you’re unsure of how to do that, then send the email to us at … and we’ll take appropriate steps. We’re already tracing the culprits. If you want to learn more about what you can do in the future to fight back then visit our blog for more details. Thanks.
- Wrote this Blog Post to raise awareness. This is the page that website visitors will land on if they want to learn more.
- Joined SpamCop to personally unveil culprits and hopefully land them in the “slammer.”
If you receive this type of email take time to notify the website owner or the company named in the email. Since the ‘From:’ information is usually forged, you need to look at other information to find out who’s responsible. If you can’t do that, then forward the email to the business owner. If the business owner tells you they don’t have a clue, then refer them here or you can just forward the email to your service provider’s abuse unit for investigation (e.g. Abuse@your service provider.com).
If your website is a victim you need to join a free service like SpamCop, where you can send the header details. They do the dirty work of identifying the cloaked server and notifying the service provider. Also put warnings on your website to alert visitors and acknowledge their efforts — at the same time put spammers on notice. The discouraging news is that some shady providers condone this type of behaviour. Let’s do all we can to short circuit the spam ‘low life’ and get them off the Internet! Okay, I feel better now!
Links to other computer tips:
Safeguarding Privacy of E-mail Addresses
Ask The Editor.”How can I quickly go to a web page I use every day?”
I’m anxious to hear your thoughts on this topic.