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3. Reporting Spam
Learn how to re-send spam messages to people who can do something about them.
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You must send the mail message, including its "header", which defines where the message originated and how it was processed. Check the options in your e-mail program to learn how to display the message header. In Outlook it is easy to reveal the message header and forward it with the letter.

  • Right click the message in your In box but do not open it.
  • Click on Properties. Then click on the Details tab.
  • You will see the message header.
  • Highlight all of this information with your mouse. Right click and select Copy. This puts the header into your "paste buffer" so you can use it later.

Now, open the message and select the option to forward it. In the TO: block enter the ISPs abuse department address:

  • The address is generally Abuse@ISP.Com: Abuse@Yahoo.com; Abuse@AOL.Com, Abuse@MSN.com, etc. If the sender is Joe32456xx@hotmail.com forward the message to Abuse@hotmail.com.
  • If the originating ISP is unknown to you, or if it is an IP address (something like 123.12.34.255) then do not send the message. You will only be verifying that your address is valid.
  • Do not alter the subject line.

Now that the message is addressed insert a note explaining that this is spam and paste in the header. If the message background contrasts with the text you have entered find the option to change the background color and choose a color that allows the text to be seen.

  • At the top of the message area write "This is spam."
  • Right click below that note and select Paste to insert the header information.

You may always enter the address for the Federal Trade Commission in the TO: or CC: block: uce@ftc.gov. The FTC is very interested in learning about spammers that do not honor opt-out requests, or if a scam may be involved. If you do not care to forward the mail to the ISP you may send it to the FTC anyway.

You will probably get a form mail note back from the ISP advising you that they received you complaint. On occasion you will have the delight of reading that the offender was caught and their e-mail account closed. The FTC will generally not acknowledge receipt of their mailing.

Resources

The Federal Trade Commission handles spam complaints.
Spamhaus tracks spammers and spam issues. You can find a "top 50" list of spammers here.
ROKSO - A listing of "spam gangs" thrown off an ISP for 3 or more violations.
CAUCE - Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-Mail. Excellent resource!
FBI - Send the FBI information regarding child pornography, crimes, or terrorism.


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