Spam is the common name for Unsolicited Commercial E-mail (UCE). Spam can range from emails sent from vendors you have contacted in the past to emails from organizations that have purchased lists of emails. Sometimes they are offering legitimate services, but most people tend to remember the more sexually explicit messages. Although we may be able to help stop spams, you have the most effective method of recourse. Details on stopping spam are below.
Check out the sender’s web site. Look for one of the following:
A place to report the abuse (an e-mail address, etc.)
A way to get off of their mailing list
Often spammers use the removal email address in the message to add you to several other lists.
The first method primarily involves Internet Service Providers (e.g., aol.com, compuserv.com, hotmail.com). Most providers do not want to service spammers and will often discontinue their accounts. Send an e-mail message to the address specified in the web pages, or email headers and send a note to the provider’s postmaster. For example, if the spam came from xyz.com, send a message to:
It is necessary that you send a polite, professional letter to the postmaster. Their job is to monitor and maintain their respective systems and they are much more likely to provide prompt and effective service when treated professionally. Never make threats, flame, or otherwise send nasty messages to the postmaster.
Unfortunately, there are methods to forge addresses, so it may be that the offending spammer doesn’t actually have an account with the provider listed in the “From:” address.
The second method is primarily for legitimate vendors. You may have purchased from or made an inquiry to a company in the past and were put on their electronic mailing list. These vendors may have a place on their web site where you can remove yourself from the list or have instructions on how to do this via e-mail. If neither of these is available, send a message to your salesperson or the postmaster at the company’s address. Reputable companies will respect your request.
On a related note, some “kinder, gentler” spammers include a web link in their messages that provide a way for you to remove yourself from their lists. If this type of message was sent to a list to which you are subscribed, send a note to the list owner and ask them to take advantage of the link to remove their list from the spammer’s list.