How Do I Report
Once you have successfully
traced a spam email and have discovered the sender's email address or domain
name, you can consult the appropriate Whois Database (see How
do I trace a spammer? for more details about Whois databases). By entering
the domain name or email address suffix (the part of the email address after
the "@") into a whois database, you can get the contact information
for the spammer's domain, and find out who owns the server that the spammer
is currently residing on.
Once you have armed yourself
with this information, there are several options available for reporting the
spammer. Depending on how much time you want to spend, and how severly you want
to hinder the spammer, you may wish to perform one or more of these reporting
Report it to the
Most commercial non-solicted
email originates from the servers of commercial internet providers. These providers
are not usually aware that spam is being sent from their servers, and are usually
quite opposed to being a source of spam. Having spam originate from your company's
server can get it blacklisted with other web servers, anti-spamming authorities,
and internet users. Getting a server off of these blacklists can be costly,
time consuming, and is a huge inconvenience for providers. Therefore, notifying
a spammer's provider will most often result in swift and decisive action against
the offending party.
The best way to get your
complaint to the providor is to attempt to send it to "abuse@provider"
or "postmaster@provider." These are the
standard email addresses that most ISPs set up to handle complaints of this
nature. If your complaint emails bounce back from these addresses, then you
should send your complaint directly to the administrator's email address found
in the whois listing.
In your report, be polite,
concise and to the point. Something along the lines of "This is an unsolicited
commercial email I received from one of your domains, please take the appropriate
action to stop it." Be sure to include the full headers of the spam in
your message, especially the Received: headers or else the provider
will be unable to act. You may or may not receive a response to your email.
Use a Complaint
If there is no such information
provided, then you can use a complaint forwarding service such as Abuse.net.
Complaint forwarding services use large databases that store domain names and
their best known reporting addresses. If a domain is set up to ignore all emails,
the complaint is forwarded to their next-level-up providor. If nothing is known
about the domain name in question, the forwarding service will attempt to guess
the reporting address by using common email address prefixes and any of the
domains name's suffixes (eg: x.y.com will be checked
for "firstname.lastname@example.org" and "email@example.com").
You can also check the Abuse.net
Current List for a complete listing of the information currently in their
database. For an in-depth description on how to use Abuse.net's forwarding service
Use a Spam Reporting
If you are tired of dealing
with spam and would like to automate the complaint process, you can download
a spam reporting script. These scripts attempt to intercept spam emails sent
to your inbox and compose complaints to the responsible providers. It should
be noted that these programs are not 100% fool-proof, and that some devious
spam emails may sneak by them, or may trick them into sending a complaint to
the wrong source. However, using these tools can create a noticeable reduction
in the amount of spam you receive.
Some Reporting Tools to
Spade a multi-function analysis program that decodes the headers of a
junk email and makes an educated guess about where it originated from.
Cop a very popular web-based system that attempts to decifer where a junk
email came from and send the necessary complaints
Assassin for Unix based systems is run from procmail and uses a scoring
system to identify spam. This tool has gotten mixed reviews because some consider
its criteria to be naive.
Hater a free program for Windows users, helps to automate the process
of sending complaint emails. Spam Hater cannot recognize forged email addresses
in the header information, so you will have to edit out some of the complaint
addresses before sending them.
Spam is a spam-reporting service that offers manual tracking and reporting
of your spam on a per-report or monthly fee basis.
Punisher is a program that assists with creating complaints about received
Many of these reporting
tools also double as Spam Filters. Consult later pages on Email
Filters for more information in regards to these tools.
Report it to Agencies
that Maintain Spam Statistics
There are a number of agencies
set up to monitor the amount and nature of spam on the internet. These agencies
will not do anything directly in regards to the spam that you received; however,
they will make a note of the incident and add it to their statistics. It is
hoped that the statistics maintained by these agencies may be useful in creating
future policies regarding spam. When you notify one of these agencies, be sure
to forward a copy of the spam and include the full header information. This
will help them identify the common types of email forgery, and the actual locations
that spams originate from.
Contact any of the following
Report them to a
Mail Abuse Blacklist
If you are still not satisfied
with the punishment you have dished out upon the spammer, you can send them
to the "black hole." Make note of all the emails you received from
the spammer, every complaint you have filed, and any responses you have received
and submit them to a mail abuse blacklisting service such as the Mail
Abuse Prevention System. From here you will be given instructions for submitting
the spammer to their Realtime Blackhole List (RBL). These lists are composed
of sites known to send spam or harbour spammers. They are used by many ISPs
to automatically block any emails coming from sites on the list. When a spammer's
site is blacklisted by such a large number of ISPs the effectiveness of their
spamming campaign is drastically reduced.