Monday 23 January 2012

Spammers again

I thought I mmight explain a bit about my email system, including the despamming.

I have a *lot* of email addresses, maybe 50 or so? Obviously, I don't want to log into 50 different systems, so I arrange for everything to be forwarded to one place for reading it. And when it gets there, it's filtered by a despammer.

1) Emails that aren't actually addressed to me. There's a lot of emails that arrive at my server, that aren't addressed to me. About 99% of them are dropped straight into /dev/null which is a black hole. Some of them evade the black hole, and get dropped into my "spam not for me" folder. I glance at that once per day, and delete it. I can't remember ever seeing anything in there that I ought to read.

2) Emails addressed to me, but look spammish. I have a spam filter which I wrote, using regexes, that sees things that look spammish (for example, words like Viagra and replica watch, and the various variations of spelling on those). I look at that twice per day, and occasionally, maybe a couple of times per week, there's something that isn't spam.

3) Emails addresses to a couple of my addresses that are especially prone to getting spam. They get put into a separate folder. Maybe once per month, there's something that isn't spam.

4) Emails that pass all the above tests, and so might not be spam. In practice, about 25% of those are real emails. If I start seeing spam about a particular subject, or from a particular place, I'll add that to the spam filter, so that in future that goes to category 2.

I was disappointed to receive another spam from Steven Katz, after he'd donated £25 to RNIB in apology for the previous spam. This one is for Mint Tins and Pots (the previous one was for Mint Cars). I phoned him again, but he was too busy to talk to me, so I left a message. I did speak to someone else there, and she thought that maybe this new spam was "in the pipeline", so to speak, and therefore not affected by the removal of email address.

More spams from Train4Trade and Clearsmoke - I've not had much success in communicating with those, so I tried again. Probably not much further progress.

Success with Psychometric Advantage - Matt Paines (01785 245134) called me back, and I think they are now sorted out. Time will tell.

I got a big runaround from Ladbrokes, but I did finally get an email from them, which I've replied to, asking that they stop (and stop their affiliates) from offending against the PEC (2003) regulation.

The only phone number I could find for Vanquis Bank costs 7p per minute to use, some of which pours into the pockets of Vanquis. So I'll see if they offend again before I progress them.

At Claims Financial, I spoke to Samantha Young, and send her the email. I also got contacted again by Emma Dobbin (Kelloggs). Their tech people wanted a screenshot of the email, so I sent them that.

I tried Coral again, but Tom Galanis is out for a week, so I spoke to Leena there, and emailed her another copy of the offending email.

Accident Advice Helpline called me back - I forwarded another spam to another of my addresses to them. They told me that they have a "Do not email" list, which they send to all their affiliates. Now that's a really good idea! I'd hope that everyone else would do that, and I'm going to suggest it in future when talking to spammers. offered me some great holidays (I didn't reaad the details, but I feel sure they must be great), so I called them and left a message on 0115 9551155 for Ken to call me back.

I did a "unsubscribe" froma couple of US lists, and got an acknowledgement back. I also unsubscribed from Dealextreme, who I have actually bought something from, I hope they honour the request.

And much fun with Ollie. He seems to be the man for several companies, such as "Save on CCTV" and "fonesave". But each of the companies he's spamming on behalf of, has a different phone number, so he scored a massive three phone calls from me today - the third time, I said "Let me guess, you're Ollie?" and we both had a good laugh. He's says that he's taken me off his lists. Ollie got his lists from Forward Line Marketing, so I called Alec Jones-Hall there on 0843 289 9512, and asked him to remove me from all his lists

There doesn't seem to be a UK opt-out service, but there is one in the US. It's free, and you can go to to get your addresses on to it. Since at least some of my spam comes from the US, maybe it'll help.

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