26 05 | 2012

Fun with spammers

Written by Tanguy

Classified in : Homepage, Debian, Miscellaneous

Email spam is a plague, but sometimes there is at least on category of spammers it is easy to have fun with: naive manual spammers. People that try to do more or less legal business, using Internet in an illegitimate way, for instance (this is a real example, including the spammer's address: spamming bots, please use it ;-) !):

Reporting

Well, in that case it may or may not be a scam, but even if it is not a criminal activity such as selling fake drugs, it is not a very honest business. Anyway, that lady is using her Google account to send her crap, so neutralizing her is quite easy:

  1. checking that it really comes from Google Mail, using DKIM or SPF;
  2. writing to Google, reporting that spam (and, in that specific case, the abuse they are offering to commit on Google +1);
  3. optional, do not do that with scammers: replying to the spammer explaining that this is spamming, that you reported it and that she can expect to loose her Google account and everything on it.

That should work with any good email provider, that is, any provider that listens to complaints at <abuse@> and takes action on them. For what I have seen, Google and Yahoo! are, but fossils such as traditional national telephonists are not. If the message headers allow you to identify it, you can also report the abuse to the spammer's network operator if it is a good one (this is rarely the case).

Consequences

With a bit of luck, that can seriously damage the business of the spammer, and if he was really careless (e.g. storing important documents on the same Google account with no local backup), cause serious trouble in his personal stuff. If you replied to the spammer, you can get fun answers such as (these are taken from real examples I got):

  • Ha ha ha, why not calling the FBI? That's it, laugh while you can, do you think your provider does not care? Too bad, he does, so you may change of mood when you see the effects loosing one's online account.
  • We are doing legal business, you will stop your harrassment or we will file a complain. Yes, please do so if you dare, but may I remember you that you are the one at fault here? (in fact, such a reaction is a very good sign, since it shows that the spammer is actually afraid, probably for his business)
  • Why did you do that? I promise, I shall not do it again, please… Too late, lamer, you should have thought of that before sending your crap…

Conclusion

This is too complicated to be done for each spam of course, but it is worth doing for spam messages that are not catch by one's antispam. And the rules for email marketing are well known: only write to people that explicitly allowed you to do so, full stop, so there is no reason to show any mercy for a spammer.

Tags : spam, report, complain, fun

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