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MikeJT

Amazing reduction in Spam

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I know that it is not my imagination. Since I started reporting spam through spam COP, my daily spam has increased from about 20 messages per day to over 100 messages per day.

It is not your imagination that your spam has increased. The tricky part is concluding that it was because you signed up for SpamCop. There are simply too many other factors in play (which have been noted by other posters).

I'm not saying that this conclusion is impossible, I'm just saying that it is an extraordinary claim, and needs some extraordinary proof to back it up. If SpamCop is hiding your e-mail address in the reports it sends (which it does), then I'm at a loss to know exactly how anyone would be able to deduce that it was you who were responsible for the report. It is certainly also possible that someone at SpamCop is crooked, and sells addresses to spammers, but if this were the case I think the smart folks here would be all over it very quickly and there would be major conniption.

Since I've been a SpamCop user for going on a decade now, I can't speak to what happened to my spam load after I joined; however, I do know that this load has varied widely anywhere from zero to 200 spams per day. Why? The short answer is, "I don't know." I just keep reporting them.

SpamCop is a poor tool for stopping spam (a police officer with a warrant is a far better one), but it is an excellent tool for filtering and reporting spam.

-- rick

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I received a lot of spams in the past but they were 'acceptable'. Since subscribing to Spamcop the quantity is rising day by day. I have noticed that most of the spams are duplicates...upwards of 8 from the, apparently, same sender. At present I am dealing with an average of 200 spams per day. It is unfeasable for me to sit and send each one through SpamCop so, now, I am reduced to merely deleting and bouncing each one. Am I right in thinking that if I report a particular spam to SpamCop that there is a chance that the spammer/s may deduce my email address?..and is that why my spam is multiplying?

I realise that bouncing is probably not bouncing it to the original sender but what else should I do?

In short, I am a wee bit disappointed in what I expected from SpamCop.

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I don't see where any of this seems to be connected to a SpamCop.net e-mail account .. though "subscribing to Spamcop" could mean many different things.

Based on what I perceive to be a bit of a rant, I am moving this to the Lounge area .... later it will in fact be merged into one of the existing Topics there that touches the same ground as this 'new' post.

PM sent to advise of this 'new' location.

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I received a lot of spams in the past but they were 'acceptable'. Since subscribing to Spamcop the quantity is rising day by day. I have noticed that most of the spams are duplicates...upwards of 8 from the, apparently, same sender. At present I am dealing with an average of 200 spams per day. It is unfeasable for me to sit and send each one through SpamCop so, now, I am reduced to merely deleting and bouncing each one. Am I right in thinking that if I report a particular spam to SpamCop that there is a chance that the spammer/s may deduce my email address?..and is that why my spam is multiplying?

I realise that bouncing is probably not bouncing it to the original sender but what else should I do?

In short, I am a wee bit disappointed in what I expected from SpamCop.

1. Please don't bounce. You are better off simply deleting the message. The messages you bounce are reportable and YOU are the source of those messages.

2. spam is increasing for everyone and the longer your email address is in circulation, the more spam you will get. Part of the increase could be how you are handling the messages for reporting now instead of simply deleting them like you used to. Any graphic loading from the internet, for instance, will easily tell the spammer that you open and view your email, making you a target for more.

3. Quick reporting may be an option for you. Check out the FAQ.

Last year, I reduced my personal spam load from about 100 spam per day on an address that was around since 1996 by dumping that address. This step lowered my spam to about 5-10 per day for quite a while. I am currently getting about 20 per day, almost all of them through my Yahooo address. This obviously may not be an option for all people, especially business addresses.

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I know that it is not my imagination. Since I started reporting spam through spam COP, my daily spam has increased from about 20 messages per day to over 100 messages per day. Is this normal? It seems/feels like it is retaliation from those sending out the spam.

My experience is similar. Spamcop is not good at reducing spam. It is effective only if you use their blacklist (SCBL). If you want to actually reduce your spam levels try reporting to knujon (www.knujon.com). My spam levels have gone done a bit. Considering that the number of spam emails is on the raise, I would say this is very good. If you want to shutdown the spamvertized websites try reporting them to the registrars using some software like complainterator (www.complainterator.com)

raju

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Am I right in thinking that if I report a particular spam to SpamCop that there is a chance that the spammer/s may deduce my email address?..and is that why my spam is multiplying?
You are asking good questions. It is not unreasonable to wonder whether SpamCop is ratting out your address to the spammers, but it is also right to ask how this might be happening, rather than simply assume that it is the case (as others have done in this thread).

Speaking strictly as a SpamCop user, I honestly don't think that spammers can routinely harvest (or re-harvest) addresses from SpamCop reports. As a rule, SpamCop munges (destroys) e-mail messages that appear in the reports, so even if a spammer could get his hands on your reports (which is far from inevitable), he would not be able to see these addresses.

Possible exception: if the spammer has tagged the message with encoded information that identifies your e-mail address (e.g., a web bug), then it might be possible for him to fish out your address, but this would require (1) that he be given a copy of the SpamCop report (which, as I said, is rather unlikely to happen, given that most spammers are stealing service and simply aren't in line to receive these reports) and (2) he has the time and patience to go through these reports to recover individual e-mail addresses. Why would he want to go to this trouble for addresses that are not only unlikely to buy from him, but have proven that they want to put him out of business?

I realise that bouncing is probably not bouncing it to the original sender but what else should I do?
Not sure exactly what you mean by "bouncing" here, but I suspect you mean sending replies back to the return-path address. I must tell you that this is not only pointless, but it is abusive as well. Spammers never use a correct return-path, they generally use addresses stolen from innocent parties. So, your bounces are probably going to people who had absolutely nothing to do with the spam. If I were you, I would stop bouncing messages.

In short, I am a wee bit disappointed in what I expected from SpamCop.
The SpamCop reporting service is a tool for reporting spam, not for blocking it. The reports are used by providers to (one hopes) button down their network security and kick off the spammers. The spammers, being very resourceful, simply go elsewhere to ply their trade.

If you want to block spam from being delivered to you, a more effective means would be to get your provider to filter them upon delivery attempt -- that is, by using a good blocking list to detect obvious spams and turn them back without being delivered. Then, you can use SpamCop to report the ones that sneak through this defense. To back up this claim, I point to my own experience: After spiking up to over 200 per day, my spam load at one address went down to nearly zero when I turned on my provider's basic spam filtering.

-- rick

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<snip>

At present I am dealing with an average of 200 spams per day. It is unfeasable for me to sit and send each one through SpamCop so, now, I am reduced to merely deleting

<snip>

...Please don't feel that reporting spam is an "all or nothing" proposition. Report only those that you have the time and inclination to report. If you want a rule to help determine which to report and which not, I would propose you start with the most recently received and work backwards until the amount of time you wish to devote to the task has elapsed, then go back later and repeat the cycle.

...Thank you for caring and trying to do something about spam!

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Gah! I've received a HUGE surge in spam since about a week before kids went back to school.

My guess is new computer + filesharing + stupidity = a million new spam relays!

Happens every year around this time and eventually self-destructs around October/November when they have so many viruses, their new comps just break :D

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Since August we've seen a dramatic decrease in spam.

Usually when there's a dip, I'm paranoid it's one of our mail servers

on the blink... and it usually is.

However, this is not the case this time.

In the past year we have averaged 300 to 400 spams EACH 8-hour period.

Since late August, that number has rapidly decreased to an average

90 to 125 per 8-hour period.

Is this because of the "gray listing" that SpamCop initiated?

I'm totally unclear about that new "feature" -- I didn't read the email

alert very thoroughly, and did not answer to participate... at least

I thought I wasn't participating.

Has the amount of spam actually decreased?

Or have the spammers finally learned it's not a good idea to spam ME ???

Thanks for reading

Fred

:huh:

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Our server have had a 50% spam increase each month for the last 4 months. If you want extra I would be happy to send it to ya :lol:

Over the weekend, I turned off my ISP's spam filter to see what would happen. Sure enough I got about 90 spams in about 26 hours, right about where things were beforehand. So, back on went the filter.

You would think that a large number of spammers sending spam in sporadic batches would average out to a more or less consistent number each day, but I guess this isn't how things work.

-- rick

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I was only receiving a few (3-6) of the typical spams per day at my POP mail account. However, since I've begun reporting them via SpamCop (forwarding per instructions), they've grown and grown and grown! Last night I received 82 new spam (all viagra or health, all from the same two or three spammers) between 6 PM last night and 9 AM this morning!

I've looked at the messages SpamCop sends out to spammers and their ISPs, and it looks like my email address is being masked. But apparently _something_ is going on, and I'm being barraged to the point almost of Denial of Service! And the ONLY change (since I never respond to any of these things) is my use of SpamCop.

Any idea what's going on? Have the "bad guys" compromised the SpamCop membership lists?

Moderator Edit: yet another "new" Topic merged into this existing Topic/Discussion

PM sent to advise of this action.

Edited by Wazoo

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I was only receiving a few (3-6) of the typical spams per day at my POP mail account. However, since I've begun reporting them via SpamCop (forwarding per instructions), they've grown and grown and grown! Last night I received 82 new spam (all viagra or health, all from the same two or three spammers) between 6 PM last night and 9 AM this morning!

<snip>

Any idea what's going on? Have the "bad guys" compromised the SpamCop membership lists?

I've seen an increase of spam delivery attempts of between 300% and 400% to my own server in the last two days. spam getting delivered to my spam traps (and thus auto submitted to SpamCop) has approximately doubled over the same period. All of this increase appears to be from the same viagra spammer.

Looks to me that's it's just a general increase in output from one spammer and not directed at SpamCop.

On the plus side, none of them have actually ended up in my real inbox. :)

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Although I'd like to be able to take squiretoad's post at face value, there has been a concerted effort over the years by spammers to discourage the reporting of spam by trolling here with similar stories, so, short of a Deputy showing up and confirming some of the details on squiretoad's behalf, I'm going to be skeptical for the moment.

When I have time, I think I'll take one of my low-spam addresses and start reporting from it, to test this theory.

DT

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When I have time,

Yea, time is an issue Dav. About a year ago it turns out, this thread went through this cycle. I had time then (I.E. there was something I was putting off). So I recording the daily counted spam by type (SW, drugs, stocks, phishing, others, and the trash I never report.) Others were/are spam I just didn't like that day. If they start out with "this is not spam" they were on my report list. I never bother to report the ones in Russian, Spanish, or casinos etc. I had been keeping a count of my overall spam for about a year, just because.

For the month of Oct I counted, did not report. For Nov & Dec I counted and reported. What I learned was that my total spam count went up during Oct, Nov & Dec at about the same rate at the overall reported spam rate seen by SpamCop and other web wide spam counting agencies. The only real thing noticed was the spike during Oct of infected email as some poor fool was flooding the net with at the time. My virus count went from 10,15 high of 20, to 158 in Oct, then back down to the under 15 range. Nothing really learned except that there does not seem to be a correlation between reporting and spam count.

I never did understand the logic, even for a mindless spammer, of making a point of sending spam to someone you know will report it and thereby get your spam blocked. I would think that if list sellers think at all, they would use spamcop list or this forum members list to wash theirs. Then they could clam "my list will not get you reported."

But of course we are assuming that these people think, which is of course a stretch!

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While he didn't burden us with the details, MikeJT (earlier in this very topic) managed to convince himself through careful analysis that what he initially perceived to be the effect of increased spam caused somehow by spam reporting was simple coincidence with the (variable) spam loads. That piece of history is significant (for me) and his conclusion is at http://forum.spamcop.net/forums/index.php?...ost&p=50790 The start of that particular journey was http://forum.spamcop.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=6997 (the start of this whole topic).

Just to make it a little easier for those who came later.

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I found it curious that, the more I reported spam at my POP mail account to Spamcop, the more spam arrived!

Gmail account, unused for months. Never received any spam. The only thing I'm using it for now is to subscribe to a new Spamcop account.

I forwarded the spam coming into my _old_ POP mail account (which I'd been faithfully reporting to Spamcop for ages) to the new Spamcop account.

For two weeks, no spam at the new gmail account. Not a single spam.

Then, exactly two weeks after the new Spamcop account (with the gmail address): boom, 150 spams! (From basically 3 spammers, judging from the common subject lines.)

Conclusion: Spamcop compromised my gmail address.

Don't give me ANY crap about "Oh, the spammers just discovered that gmail account." Bull. Something happened, and it happened at Spamcop. There's an old Ian Fleming quote: "Once is coincidence, twice is enemy action." You've now become part of the problem.

Now you guys need to find out what. Some suggestions:

- Somebody inhouse is selling lists. (Most likely)

- A spammer has penetrated your system security and is getting member lists (and their email addresses). (Possible)

- The messages you're sending out to spammer ISPs are somehow being traced back to the complainant's (that's me) email account. (Not likely)

Meanwhile, thanks a whole bloody lot for screwing up my gmail account.

Incidentally: I've noted NO, repeat, NO change in type or frequency of spam at my original POP mail account. I was taking it on faith that in fact reporting all these spammers, zombie systems, etc. to ISPs and mail servers was in fact doing something.

But I just can't believe that any more. You're apparently having no effect whatsoever (aside from the _very_ rare message that someone will be taking care of the spam problem within 24 hours).

Too bad: nice concept. Lousy result.

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Well I have a Gmail account I've NEVER used for anything - not with SpamCop nor to send of receive Emails. There are presently 236 spam messages in the spam folder. So perhaps there are other possibilities...

Andrew

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I found it curious that, the more I reported spam at my POP mail account to Spamcop, the more spam arrived!
Hmmm....you tried to advance a part of this theory two weeks ago, and your message was merged into the "Amazing reduction in spam" mega-thread, in this post: http://forum.spamcop.net/forums/index.php?...ost&p=60312

However, despite several people responding to you, you didn't return to that thread, but are now posting a new one (therefore, I'm suggesting that a moderator move this to the end of that thread). I'm pretty sure that you were notified at that time of the move of your previous post, so didn't you check to see if there were responses? I speculated that you might be a troll, intent on discouraging the reporting of spam.

Now on to your points...

Gmail account, unused for months. Never received any spam. The only thing I'm using it for now is to subscribe to a new Spamcop account.
Just to be clear, you purchased a Spamcop Email System filtered email account, correct?

I forwarded the spam coming into my _old_ POP mail account (which I'd been faithfully reporting to Spamcop for ages) to the new Spamcop account.

For two weeks, no spam at the new gmail account. Not a single spam.

This is typical with new Gmail accounts...as is the sudden arrival of spam....it happened to me, but not for the reason you put forward.

Conclusion: Spamcop compromised my gmail address.
I suppose that anything is possible, as people frequently say (but it's a bogus statement, because some things are truly impossible), but a similar phenomenon occurred with my Gmail account, with zero Spamcop involvement whatsoever. Therefore, my contention is that something at the Gmail end is the commonality...some deficiency in Google's system/technology/ethics/security/etc. is why both of our Gmail accounts started receiving spam for no apparent reason.

- Somebody inhouse is selling lists. (Most likely)
Rather doubtful.

- A spammer has penetrated your system security and is getting member lists (and their email addresses). (Possible)
Maybe, if your initial premise held water, but I've already demonstrated that it might be leaky.

- The messages you're sending out to spammer ISPs are somehow being traced back to the complainant's (that's me) email account. (Not likely)
Actually, this is more likely than you think, but only in terms of compromising the addresses to which the spam messages were originally delivered. Marketers (and spammers) sometimes put unique alpha-numeric codes into the URLs in the body, as well as special headers of their messages. Despite the best attempts of the Spamcop programmers, I don't think the system is able to remove 100% of that kind of information, so if the spam reports reach the spammers (and I think they frequently do), they might be able to identify the recipient address involved in a particular spam report.

However, the consensus is that most spammers would use that information to list-wash (remove) the address from any and all lists to avoid getting reported in the future.

Incidentally: I've noted NO, repeat, NO change in type or frequency of spam at my original POP mail account
Just a moment....that seems to be a direct contradiction of what you posted two weeks ago...or am I perhaps misunderstanding?

was taking it on faith that in fact reporting all these spammers, zombie systems, etc. to ISPs and mail servers was in fact doing something.
It is doing something. It's feeding the data tracked by Spamcop for the eventual listing of spam sourcing IP addresses on the SCBL.

You're apparently having no effect whatsoever (aside from the _very_ rare message that someone will be taking care of the spam problem within 24 hours).
I hardly ever receive an ISP response after reporting spam...but if I've helped to add an IP address to the SCBL or to keep it there longer, then there's a positive outcome, in that many system admins configure their servers to check the source IP addresses of incoming messages against "bl.spamcop.net" -- I do on the system that I administer and it tags and quarrantines a LOT of spam due to the SCBL.

DT

Edited by DavidT

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By PM to squiretoad

Your latest (2nd) post has also been merged to the existing topic at http://forum.spamcop.net/forums/index.php?...ost&p=60693

Responses have been made to both. Relevant backgrounds to the issues you raise are to be found throughout that topic.

[ameded link http://forum.spamcop.net/forums/index.php?...ost&p=60693]

...There's an old Ian Fleming quote: "Once is coincidence, twice is enemy action." ...
NO ... not even Auric Goldfinger was quite that hair-triggered. Which might suggest something to you? Edited by Farelf

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Hmmm....you tried to advance a part of this theory two weeks ago, and your message was merged into the "Amazing reduction in spam" mega-thread, in this post: http://forum.spamcop.net/forums/index.php?...ost&p=60312

However, despite several people responding to you, you didn't return to that thread, but are now posting a new one (therefore, I'm suggesting that a moderator move this to the end of that thread). I'm pretty sure that you were notified at that time of the move of your previous post, so didn't you check to see if there were responses? I speculated that you might be a troll, intent on discouraging the reporting of spam.

I couldn't _find_ the original (merged) message. Your forum is not particularly conducive to finding stuff, it seems. Since I am not experiencing an "Amazing reduction in spam", it wasn't likely that I'd consider that as a thread subject for which to search. No matter. I was awaiting the results of my experiment, and was disinterested in others' similar experiences or Spamcop's refutations. I wanted more evidence, so I waited .. and watched ...

Now on to your points...

Just to be clear, you purchased a Spamcop Email System filtered email account, correct?

No, absolutely not. I'm only addressing the issues with the free reporting service. You see, one of the possibilities could be that (heavens forbid!) Spamcop is "encouraging" such purchased accounts by compromising mail accounts that use the free service. Not accusing, exactly, just saying. Purchasing an account would mask that test.

This is typical with new Gmail accounts...as is the sudden arrival of spam....it happened to me, but not for the reason you put forward.

Which is exactly why I didn't use a new Gmail account. My test account had been in existence for well over a year, and had been totally disused for months prior to the test. It had NEVER received any spam.

I suppose that anything is possible, as people frequently say (but it's a bogus statement, because some things are truly impossible), but a similar phenomenon occurred with my Gmail account, with zero Spamcop involvement whatsoever. Therefore, my contention is that something at the Gmail end is the commonality...some deficiency in Google's system/technology/ethics/security/etc. is why both of our Gmail accounts started receiving spam for no apparent reason.

Except I submit that it may not be "receiving spam for no apparent reason." There's a distinct possibility (the one I clearly raise here, the one you so quickly discount before and now) that Spamcop is the apparent reason.

Maybe, if your initial premise held water, but I've already demonstrated that it might be leaky.

I see no such demonstration. I see only a refutation, a denial. I do not accept that a huge influx of spam would come out of nowhere. Possible, yes. Likely, no.

Actually, this is more likely than you think, but only in terms of compromising the addresses to which the spam messages were originally delivered. Marketers (and spammers) sometimes put unique alpha-numeric codes into the URLs in the body, as well as special headers of their messages. Despite the best attempts of the Spamcop programmers, I don't think the system is able to remove 100% of that kind of information, so if the spam reports reach the spammers (and I think they frequently do), they might be able to identify the recipient address involved in a particular spam report.

However, the consensus is that most spammers would use that information to list-wash (remove) the address from any and all lists to avoid getting reported in the future.

Exactly my conclusion. Why would a spammer want to flood a known anti-spammer with spam? He'd just be causing problems for himself. So I considered that "trace me through the spam itself" to be not very likely.

Which leaves only Spamcop as the source of the compromise. That, or a hateful universe.

Just a moment....that seems to be a direct contradiction of what you posted two weeks ago...or am I perhaps misunderstanding?

No .. the original POP mail site continues to get its usual flood of spam (ranging from 88 to 128 messages a day), all of which are now (or were) being reported via the "new" Spamcop account (with its Gmail address). (Note also that any clues imbedded in that spam would point back at the POP mail account, and NOT the Gmail account; an intentional part of my experimental design.) My initial post said that POP account got virtually no spam at all (a sporadic 2 or 3 a day) .. until I started reporting those few via Spamcop. Then the flood began. That was the "coincidence". The Gmail spamming I considered "enemy action."

It is doing something. It's feeding the data tracked by Spamcop for the eventual listing of spam sourcing IP addresses on the SCBL.

I hardly ever receive an ISP response after reporting spam...but if I've helped to add an IP address to the SCBL or to keep it there longer, then there's a positive outcome, in that many system admins configure their servers to check the source IP addresses of incoming messages against "bl.spamcop.net" -- I do on the system that I administer and it tags and quarrantines a LOT of spam due to the SCBL.

That's good to know. I couldn't really find (in searching through the Spamcop site) exactly what was happening with my reports. I see the same bloody spam supporting / friendly ISPs over and over again, and no apparent detrimental effects at all on the spammers. So I had to wonder. One would think that months of reporting spam would do something.

As it is: I still do not accept that the spammers somehow discovered my Gmail account, after over a year of non-discovery .. exactly two weeks after I started using a new account on Spamcop to report.

I think I'm going back to my own manual methods of crushing spammers (complaints to ISPs, their ISPs, and on up the line, yea even unto the Nth generation). It worked then. Obviously Spamcop isn't doing me any good.

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Conclusion: Spamcop compromised my gmail address.

Don't give me ANY crap about "Oh, the spammers just discovered that gmail account." Bull. Something happened, and it happened at Spamcop. There's an old Ian Fleming quote: "Once is coincidence, twice is enemy action." You've now become part of the problem.

If your conclusion were correct then the email address I used to open a paid reporting account with SC would get the most spam of valid email addresses at my domain. This is not the case. Other non/little used addresses are at the top of the list.

But I think all the facts are superfluous, you have made up your mind. I think troll is the correct answer.

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