How to Track Down Spammers - dummies

By John R. Levine, Ray Everett-Church, Greg Stebben, David Lawrence

Part of Internet Privacy For Dummies Cheat Sheet

The internet is flooded with spam, but after you learn a few tricks, hunting down a spammer’s base of operations and getting him kicked off the web is usually simple. To track down spammers in your email, follow these steps in order:

  1. Look at the e-mail headers in the message.

  2. Follow the flow of Received headers backward from your ISP.

  3. Identify the owner of the last verifiable e-mail-handling server.

  4. Look for URLs and e-mail addresses in the contents of the spam.

  5. Track down the correct addresses for everyone who should receive the complaint.

  6. Send a firm but politely worded complaint.

  7. Await responses.

  8. If complaints bounce back, continue complaining upstream.

  9. If your complaints are ignored, report the spammer to a blocking list.

  10. If all else fails, complain to your ISP.