Solved

Spam

Posted on 1997-06-22
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Last Modified: 2013-12-27
I frequently get spam Email which I would like to respond to
in kind.  If I try "reply", the response is often "address unknown".

I can view the full address header but often can't determine what is a real address in the listing.  How can you determine how to send a response to a real address?
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Question by:Loubiere
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Expert Comment

by:weed
ID: 1542171
Well i just typed out a whole long answer and did something wrong and lost the whole thing so heres the short and small of it. Instead of sending the reply to user "reply" who doesnt exist you need to reply to the address that it was sent from. ie. name@isp.com. If youre using netscape for mail (and most other mail clients) just hit the reply button and it will automatically put in the address to reply to. If youre using unix the address that the mail was sent from should be in the header somewhere in the form "From:name@isp.com" simply reply to that address. it may also be that the spammers have it set up so they cant receive mail simply so they dont get loads of mail from replies. in this case you would get the same message saying that the mail could not be sent.
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Expert Comment

by:rifty
ID: 1542172
Weed's last line contains the vital principle. Fact is, professional spammers protect themselves perfectly from what you want to do (yeah, I loathe them too!!!) It is useless - repeat, useless - to try to reply to them. They operate on a hit and run principle and you will only waste time and effort trying to track them down.

So what do you do? The simplest and most effective method is to trash it. Takes 3 seconds and it's over. Why is it most effective?  Because if everyone did that, they would get no replies at all and would stop trying the practice. Sure we would all like to deluge them with tons of garbage, but even if you complain to their ISP, it is more than likely they have already moved on, or they have a sympathetic ISP (who they pay well!) who will cooperate with them to thwart you. In the end, spamming will only be defeated by being totally and absolutely ignored.

I get quiet pleasure from creating simple filters using Eudora that automatically send many of them straight to junk. Naturally, new ones miss my net, but once they're in it there's no escape for them if they try to use anything like the same address or ISP.

Don't waste your time with them. Just grin and trash 'em. Good luck.

Rifty
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:rifty
ID: 1542173
Weed's last line contains the vital principle. Fact is, professional spammers protect themselves perfectly from what you want to do (yeah, I loathe them too!!!) It is useless - repeat, useless - to try to reply to them. They operate on a hit and run principle and you will only waste time and effort trying to track them down.

So what do you do? The simplest and most effective method is to trash it. Takes 3 seconds and it's over. Why is it most effective?  Because if everyone did that, they would get no replies at all and would stop trying the practice. Sure we would all like to deluge them with tons of garbage, but even if you complain to their ISP, it is more than likely they have already moved on, or they have a sympathetic ISP (who they pay well!) who will cooperate with them to thwart you. In the end, spamming will only be defeated by being totally and absolutely ignored.

I get quiet pleasure from creating simple filters using Eudora that automatically send many of them straight to junk. Naturally, new ones miss my net, but once they're in it there's no escape for them if they try to use anything like the same address or ISP.

Don't waste your time with them. Just grin and trash 'em. Good luck.

Rifty
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Author Comment

by:Loubiere
ID: 1542174
Neither answer the question.  The question is "how to read the header" not "what to do about spammers".
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Expert Comment

by:weed
ID: 1542175
"The address that the mail was sent from should be in the header somewhere in the form "From:name@isp.com"

I frequently get spam Email which I would like to respond to in kind. If I try "reply", the response is often "address unknown".

<I can view the full address header but often can't determine what is a real address in the listing. How can you determine how to
send a response to a real address?>

Our answer was dont bother sending a reply because there really are no real email addresses in the spam mail header. Theyre using temp email addresses or run it through a fake mail server.
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Accepted Solution

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rifty earned 200 total points
ID: 1542176
Loubiere: I don't know what more we can tell you. There is NO way - repeat, no way - that you can get back at the professional spammer by using information from the headers. This is the answer to your question.

The only way would take enormous time and patience, and no guarantee of success. You would have to reply indicating that you want to look at their product, and from the info that they send back to you, you would have a chance of being able to find a genuine email address, or tracking them down, probably to a PO Box in a particular city. But what are you going to do then? Anything you do will hurt you more than it does them. In spite of all your efforts, the people who do this professionally know how to cover their tracks or use the law in their own favour, and you could still waste your time.

The best revenge is silence. Spammers really hate that. To them, all publicity is good publicity.

Rifty.
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