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Brewmanz

How do I sue an identifiable Texan spammer illegally using traceable email addresses?

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A Texan spammer I can trace sent dozens of emails to my domain in violation of Texas law Section 46.008 © that states

"In lieu of actual damages, an electronic mail service provider ... may recover the greater of: (1) $10 for each unlawful message; or (2) $25,000 for each day the unlawful message is received."

As the spamming took place over 2 or 3 days (depending how you define a day) I reckon I can claim either $50,000 or $75,000. I'll be happy with either.

BTW I'm hoping I can bypass federal CANSPAM as the emails were 'deceptive' as the spam failed to include 'ADV' in the subject line.

I live in New Zealand and through my domain I act as an electronic mail service provider.

I've tried to contact a couple of lawyer types via email, but have failed even to get a response. Obviously I'm doing something wrong here. Any helpful advice from anyone? Should I maybe target aweber who are not interested in the leaked email addresses (which is continuing as more addresses leak)?

Details below

=======

aweber.com is letting spammers get hold of its stored email addresses. I know it's them; suddenly 14 email addresses (with names like myname.coolwebsitedomain[at]mydomain, stored by aweber) started getting spam from a whole bunch of strange domains, all of which finished with 'Subscriber Requests: 4408 McLean Rd Haltom City TX 76117'. When I reported them thru spamcop, the spammer replied,

"... Our email campaigns are 100% compliant with US laws and generally accepted email marketing practices. ... We ... take pride in making sure anyone who receives an email from our marketing campaigns is a verified opt-in to our distribution. Or you can respond to us directly at nt[at].. Cozmo SEO Power"

When I challenged him on the 'verified opt-in', he then replied

"I am looking into the source of this sample that was sent out days ago. The sample has been deleted and not used since a rush of Spamcop complaints arrived in the abuse inbox. I would like to explain that we have dozens of ICQ contacts dating back from 1999. This transaction happened through ICQ. After qualifying this data manager, I sent a test. We never expected this would generate so many problems for our network. As server administrator, I do not intend on doing business with this deviant party. I will paste below the ICQ number of how the sample was obtained:

ICQ Number: 470-149-099

Name: William Shafer

Birth Date: 24/02/1950

Age: 58

Please rest assure I learned a valuable less as I am sure to never deal with strangers like this again. I apologize once again about any misuse.

Nick Turchiano

Cozmo SEO Power"

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Are you claiming that the man with the ICQ number is working for aweber and selling email addresses harvested from aweber servers as 'opt-in' lists?

Or are you planning to sue Cozmo?

If it is an individual, a lawyer wouldn't be interested because chances are the individual won't have the money to pay the fine.

And since Cozmo responded to spamcop reports and corrected the problem, then I think they could wiggle out of a judgment since they acted in 'good faith'

OTOH, you might be pointing out the absurdity of the Texas law. No spammer could ever pay such fines since they send out hundreds or thousands of a particular ad.

It is always tempting to think of suing spammers, but since it takes deep pockets to initiate proceedings, and the probability of being able to collect is very low, most people fantasize about boiling oil and various other tortures to relieve their spleen.

Miss Betsy

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...

ICQ Number: 470-149-099

Name: William Shafer

Birth Date: 24/02/1950

Age: 58 ...

Alternatively (never trust an SEO exponent):

http://www.icq.com/people/about_me.php?uin=470149099

bill gates

58 years old

ICQ #470149099

http://www.icq.com/people/full_details_sho...p?uin=470149099

First Name bill
Last Name gates
Nickname spam the planet
_________ ______________
Year 1969
Month December
Day 31
Age 58

- which sort of spoils the innocence act a little (or the ICQ record has lately been hijacked or modified) but someone is surely not following the self-regulatory rules - which reduces the effectiveness of any "good faith" stance:

Email Marketing Best Practices

What Is Confirmed Opt-In? (secure)

Can I Use This List? (secure)

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The simple answer to the question is that you consult a lawyer. Typically, for an international matter, you'd go through a local lawyer in New Zealand who has contacts in the relevant jurisdiction.

IANAL However, to take an action you will need to demonstrate that you have suffered a loss or some form of detriment. The Texas law may, in effect, grant you a loss but you will still need to provide the evidence to support your claim and then you'll need to locate a lawyer in Texas willing to take on your case.

Then, as Miss Betsy observes, your lawyer will want to be sure of being able to recover the amount awarded should the court make an award.

You may do better working with some local state trade body or Better Business Bureau but then you won't get any payment and you may not be any more successful.

I'd save yourself ulcers and the initial expense. Take the the route of reporting and then walk away.

Andrew

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You might try reporting him to the Texas Attorney General, but other than that, a civil lawsuit by you would be a waste of your time and money. As a Texan myself who has owned several businesses and tried to collect on bad contracts, I can tell you this: Under Texas law, even if you get a judgement against the defendant, there is no mechanism to actually collect that judgment. If you can find out their bank account number, you have a shot at getting a levy against their account to pay a judgment, but this is generally pretty hard information to come by, unless you happen to have a check from the person with bank account information on it sitting around.

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Thank you :) all for all that disheartening news. :(

May I become rich enough one day to indulge in my whims and sue the pants of a spammer, even if it costs me more than them! :D

Edited by Brewmanz

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I am also being bombarded by this idiot. All the spamvertised websites (munged, but copy/pastable) such as

http://taken.limestolimeade.com

http://interest.bulljive.com

http://snookums.zoomshare.com

http://lead.searchcarauctions.com

http://function.3g-money.com

http://require.domainnamemakeover.com

are registered with

Cozmo SEO Power, Inc

4408B-A1 McClean Road

Haltom City, TX 76117

US

The technical contact person is

Cozmo SEO Power, Inc

4408B-A1 McClean Road

Haltom City, TX 76117

US

(817)886-4780

nt[at]cozmo.org

All his spamvertised websites are registered with

NS1.COZMO.ORG

NS2.COZMO.ORG

I have sent numerous emails to nt[at]cozmo.org requesting him to shut it down. But no action from him... The phone number listed goes to a voice mail. Looks like a black hat to me.

Anyway, searching for "cozmo seo" in google turns up this link. Thought I would give my 2 cents.

raju

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I have sent numerous emails to nt[at]cozmo.org requesting him to shut it down. But no action from him... The phone number listed goes to a voice mail. Looks like a black hat to me.

I'm wondering if it would be a waste of time (or even a bad idea) to actually reply to the unsubscribe link given at the bottom of their emails -

I notice they have different unsubscribe links at the bottom of each mail I have from them at the moment so I guess it would be a waste of time ...

I dont get much spam but mainly from this (postal) address* so it would be nice not to get it at all :-)

* 4408 McLean Rd Haltom City TX 76117

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If I have not subscribed to a mailing list, on principle, I won't unsubscribe. If I think that it is a legitimate emailer who is just misguided or possibly there was a mistake, I will send an email requesting unsubscription to an abuse address or postmaster. If I have time, I pursue it as high as I can. Very rarely do I ever unsubscribe.

For spam, even the FTC says that using the unsubscribe is not a good idea and I never do.

Miss Betsy

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If I have not subscribed to a mailing list, on principle, I won't unsubscribe. If I think that it is a legitimate emailer who is just misguided or possibly there was a mistake, I will send an email requesting unsubscription to an abuse address or postmaster. If I have time, I pursue it as high as I can. Very rarely do I ever unsubscribe.

Thanks for the quick reply Miss Betsy

I dont actually have any principles about the whole thing :) but still think as you say it simply not a good idea to respond in that way ..

Thanks again

Tom

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I'm wondering if it would be a waste of time (or even a bad idea) to actually reply to the unsubscribe link given at the bottom of their emails -

Don't do it.

The unsubscribe links, links referred in their spam emails have an "ID number" so that this spammer can track who clicked on the links, who reported their spam emails etc.,

For now, I am reporting these mails to knujon, www.uribl.com. If they receive enough emails (evidence), may be they will start acting on it. I am not reporting to spamcop as I fear that the spammer can track me (with the ID number embedded in the spam emails).

regards

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I am not reporting to spamcop as I fear that the spammer can track me (with the ID number embedded in the spam emails).

That assumes that their ISP is forwarding abuse reports to them, which I have found to be rarely the case. You could always try contacting their ISP directly and ask them about the security of evidence forwarded to them.

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It is generally a waste of time to report spamvertized sites via spamcop, IMHO. Some spam may have embedded IDs, but most don't. While I don't believe that spammers waste their time on retaliating against reporters any more, some do harvest reports for possible additions to their lists. It still is a waste of time to report because it is essentially playing whack a mole while the spammers create new websites by the minute (maybe an exaggeration, but they do have lots of websites). I also believe that, if they get a spamcop report, they add any addresses to their lists because, again, my belief is that a lot of the money made in spam is from the sale of lists to gullible people. Alternate ways of reporting spamvertized websites, like knujon, are better if you think that reporting them is valuable anti-spam activity.

However, spamcop usually sends source reports to devnull or to an upstream for the spammy ISPs either because they don't accept spamcop reports or because spamcop has discovered that the report is going directly to the spammer. Most of the spam friendly ISPs have been identified by now. If spam comes from a new source, it is probably a mistake and an unmunged report makes fixing faster. Therefore, it is safe enough to report only the source, IMHO.

Miss Betsy

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