Killing spam

I’ve got a hotmail account that gets all sorts of spam. I’ve got the filters on as high as I can and still do all my surfing and get messages from people not in my address book.

Does it help to unsubscribe or to reply with an unsubscribe? Or do these unscrupulous internet marketeers simply take that as a confirmed email addy and sell it on to any and all takers?

Any other suggestions for cuttiing the spam out of my email?

Ok, I’ve had a bit of a change of attitude on this one…

The word is, never unsubscribe. It confirms your email address is active and not only will you continue to recieve mail, but the spammer is likely to sell your address to other spammer at a higher price because the address is confirmed active.

However, the volume of spam coming into Hotmail has reached such levels that I now don’t bother about that advice. They’ve got your address, they’re going to resell it anyway and if you’re lucky you just might find a spammer who actually does remove people who request it (stranger things have happened, although I don’t know what the chances are that you’ll find an honest spammer considering the deceptions involved in getting the spam to you in the first place).

The only way to protect your Hotmail address is to make it a long and complex string of letters and numbers and guard it with your life. Never ever use it to post to newsgroups, and if you munge it, use something that’s unlikely to be filtered out - I had a clean address for over six months with Hotmail until I changed my email “disguise” to just (cazzle)* and the buggers filtered out the some and the thing - after making three posts with that disguised address, I started getting spam, and even though I’ve never used it since, I now get 80 pieces of spam a week to my previously spam-free address. Unbelievable. So I’m going to register another long, complicated email address, a mixture of random letters and numbers, and munge it totally - (cazzle)* and my signature will inform people to remove the underscores and put Hotmail in instead.

  • Obviously I’m not going to list my real email address here for fear of harvesters! I don’t have the Hotmail address “cazzle@” or “(cazzle)@”.

Check and get the SPAM notice under the Unix General Public License. The text is similar to the provisions of the Telecommunications Act that makes it a punishable offense to solicit someone who has already made the company aware that they’re not willing to be contacted for unsolicited sales pitches.

I just generally look up the admin contact at the domain in question using Network Solutions and email them the text of the notice. Works like a charm.

China Guy,

Here’s some stuff you may find useful:

Suing Spammers

Suing spammers systematically

It doesn’t work if the spammer owns the mail server, however.

Another suggestion for munging email addresses is to spell out @. What I did on the BbBoy forum after I started getting spam on my previously utterly unspammed address was to hide my profile address and put in the bio portion so people could still email me but the harvesters wouldn’t get it, since I believe spiders look for the @ character.

Good suggestion Geobabe.

I should have specified that I was talking about munging the domain name in the From field when submitting messages to newsgroups. I found that altering the @ symbol stopped my messages being posted - I guess my ISP was filtering? Anyway, I figured out that I needed to have something that could pass for a legit email address so I had to have the @ in there.

And I forgot to post my favourite link earlier! - it won’t stop them spamming you, but it will go a long way towards get their accounts/webpages/dropboxes shut down. It’s an automated tracing and reporting utility - all reputable ISPs have anti spam clauses in their Terms Of Service, and should shut down any accounts involved in a spam run if they are reported back to them.

I have a handful of filters on my inbox that automatically delete the vast majority of the spam I receive, so I don’t worry about it too much. The one filter that gets the most spam is: if the recipient field does not contain my E-mail address, the message is deleted from the server, unless the sender appears in my address book. This gets rid of a hell of a lot of stuff that I don’t want to see, without blocking CCs from friends, or mailings from selected lists.

I have found that not posting your address on the web looks like a charm.

I use a hotmail address for anything that requires my address to be submitted anywhere, and my ISP/Mac addresses are given only to friends, with express instructions that adding me to mailing lists, or submitting my address anywhere will result in the unwanted harvesting of their organs.

Works like a charm.

Hotmail receives capacious amounts of SPAM, while my ISP and addresses receive absolutely none, and haven’t for a long time.

On an unrelated note, I just realized that the system-wide spell check in Mac OS X kicks some serious booty. It is monitoring my spelling as I type… Just like word does, with little red squigglies even.


Hotmail seems to be the worst for spam. It’s simply atrocious, and one wonders if someone, somewhere, is selling lists for that particular domain. Use boxfrog or yahoo and it isn’t half so bad. I too have a junk hotmail account that I use when completing forms. I open it and delete everything every few weeks just to keep it current.

Regarding junk accounts.

I run my own mail/pop server on a box in the basement. (On an uninter. power supply, also runs as other types of servers but only behind my firewall.) I use dyndns for IP address mapping.

I can generate as many email addresses as I want, quick as a flash. And then erase them just as easily. I started an account called “spambox” for signing up for things that required an email address and which I felt I might get spam later. I figured, once it got full of spam I would delete it and start up “spambox2”, etc. But you know, that “spam” in the name stops me getting spam. And I’ve even used it to post on Usenet, the fastest way to get spam I know.

I think their account name filters drop the “spam” and try to mail to “box”. Interesting…

What I want to know is: Where do people get these 10-20% of all email is spam statistics? It’s a ratio of 20 or 30 to 1 more spam than real email from what I’ve seen going thru servers. It really is killing ISP’s.

(I’ve also generated one-purpose only accounts, to see if the address gets passed on to others, but not so far. Must be organizations with ethics, how nice.)

Well, I deleted myself from some sites, notably mortgage refinancing ones, and guess what, I’m getting more mortgage ones. My gut feel is that in some/many cases to delete your address means that particular list no longer uses your address. However, you have confirmed that it is a good address and that confirmed address finds it’s way onto other lists…

Thanks for the above suggestions. If there are other practical ideas, I’m listening.

I started this thread:

I can’t believe it! I’ve got so many spam filters I had to organize them!

Oddly no one who replied to my thread had any idea why I would want to bother to filter them :rolleyes:

Anyway, the secret is: use Eudora to read your email. (Can you do that with Hotmail, or do you have to read it online?). Be diligent. And once you get over 300 filters, organize them like I did :slight_smile:

I dunno, maybe I’m living right or something, but I just don’t have that huge of a problem. I post on message boards, I have a website with my email address on it, and I’ve posted in the past to newsgroups and still I don’t get so much spam that 10 seconds with a delete key won’t get rid of it. Thank goodness, too, as I don’t really have the time to set up a network of 300 filters. I have two yahoomail accounts, one of which is for doing stuff online that requires an email address. Even it doesn’t get much spam.

So I don’t know. I’ve just never had that huge of a problem with it. If you’re getting 50 spams a minute then yeah, you have a problem and need a fix for it. But I’ve gotten so used to slashdot types who go ballistic when they receive a single unasked-for message that I’ve kind of set complaints about spam onto a sort fo filter of my own.

This attitude annoys me. At what point does the volume become unacceptable?

This may not be a problem for you, but here in Australia, true unlimited accounts are hard to find. We’re pay for our account which gives us 350 Meg of free downloads a month and once we exceed that, we start paying. We are high volume users. It’s only the first week of the month, and we’ve already downloaded over 100 Meg - and we have images switched off, haven’t been downloading MP3s or streaming music, this is purely ordinary use of email and webpages and we’ve cut out most of our other activities. We are going to exceed our limit, there’s no doubt, and we are going to have to pay 19 cents* a megabyte for our excess downloads. Every single piece of unwanted mail we get adds to our bill and why the hell should we have to pay for it? We shouldn’t get it in the first place.

I have no problem with anything my family and friends choose to send me, but when jerks harvest my email address, filter out words like NOSPAM and send me advertising material that I have to pay to recieve, I get pretty annoyed. I have been bombed before now and recieved more than 2 Megs worth of copies of the same piece of spam - and my Hotmail account then started bouncing my real mail.

Sure, I’m quibbling over a few cents, but it’s a few cents all the time, forever, and it’s getting worse all the time. It also doesn’t take into account the extra costs to my ISP which are then passed on to me.

*19 cents Australian = about 8.5 cents US

For some reason, I get almost no spam at all with my current ISP (Verizon DSL). My sister uses AOL and emailed me asking for my advice for how to reduce spam that she receives. As far as I could determine, the only thing she could do is list addresses she wants to receive email from and everything else would get blocked. Clearly not a very good solution. It also appears that the third party spam filters can’t be used with the propietary AOL mail reader.

Any AOLers out there have any other ideas?