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A Dispatch

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July 12, 2006

When Does Spam Become Harassment?

A rather insistent mortgage lead spammer keeps the barrage coming. Somewhere along the line, the email address list used by this jerk has been matched with my street address. This allows his spew machine to make the message sound more personal by including my street address in the message.

Most recently, the address has been right in the Subject: line, along with typically deceptive words aimed at getting my attention and luring me to open the message. Now, I know how all of this works, and it's highly automated, but I wonder if someone receiving the same flood of email seemingly targeting the physical residence might become frightened, especially when the Subject: lines sound threatening, at times—as if someone is selling your house right out from under you. Even though I know how this works, it's still creepy getting a message from a spammer who knows more about me than I like.

I pulled together a recent list that used this street address tactic, and present the results below (with my street address redacted, just as I do with the copies I forward to the FTC just in case they should become evidence in future litigation against the perp):

List of threatening email messages.

This has gotten waaaay out of hand. As of today, this guy started using a new domain registration name/address/phone combination. This time, it's another Florida city, but the street address doesn't exist, and the phone number is for a Pennsylvania area code.

Unfortunately for me (and others who received this threatening material), it will take someone with resources to trace the ass behind this campaign. It will take subpoenas and all that legal stuff to reach the true source. Oooh, I hope MSN customers have received a lot of these, because Microsoft isn't afraid to go after this type of CAN-SPAM scofflaw (Yay, Aaron Kornblum!).

Posted on July 12, 2006 at 07:43 PM