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Fraudulent Opt-in


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Spammers send news letters to Yahoo egroups.

These news letters might include instructions such as:

"To be removed from future mailings just reply with REMOVE in the subject



Spammers pretend to be complying with anti-spam laws by giving directions for


Yet what those directions ACTUALLY SAY,

is that if you are in a Yahoo group, then you CANNOT UNSUBSCRIBE,

unless you UNSUBSCRIBE from the group.

Spammers assert that once they join a group, and begin to flood that

group with spam,

that no one has a right to be in that group except those who will put up

with his spam.

Spammers force people to accept these news letter,

by sending them to yahoogroups.

To unsubscribe from this spam a group moderator must ban the spammer, and he must also ban all of his aliases.

This must be done in every group, where he is spamming.

There are usually multiple aliases.

Some groups are unmoderated, and there is no one to assert this kind of control.

Even if a moderator bans all of these aliases the spammer

will often create a new alias, and re-subscribe.

Yahoo regularly deletes his ID's for this kind of abuse, but he just creates another ID,

and goes back to the same abuse.

What can be done about this?

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I moved this here because it should not be in the "How to" use research tools forum. The answers MAY end up in that forum, but the way I see it, that section is more of a FAQ type with the answers already worked out. After thinking about it a little, I can see where John could see it as a good fit (he wants to know how to use research tools to identify the person) Any comment on this Wazoo? Moving it back would be fine with me, if appropriate.

John, Onto your problem. There are many ways people become "opted in" to some lists, depending on the list. We would need information on the specific list (if there is one).

You may have registered on a website and not noticed the policy or unchecked the do not email me option.

Some of the e-card sites have been known to sell their lists as well, senders and receivers, if I recall correctly.

Someone with a grudge against you could have signed you up, but unless you contact the list for the original IP address of the registration (which may not have been saved) there would be no way to track it. Even with the IP address, it would likely require a court order for the ISP to divulge the customer, meaning police intervention.

If they signed up an account of some kind, they may have left some hints. I have someone who repeatedly uses my yahoo address as their own. They have registered for casino sites among other things, including their name, CC#, home address, phone number, age, everything. I called the number and spoke to the woman, told her she was using the wrong email address, yet she continues to use it every onece in a while.

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Any comment on this Wazoo?  Moving it back would be fine with me, if appropriate.

I came in this morning, saw a 'new' post in the "How to Use ... Research Tools" Forum, made the same decision as you and moved that post to the Lounge. Regreshing the screen, I thought it was odd that there were two entries now showing as having been moved, both started by the same user this morning ... Eventually made it to the Lounge area, saw you'd replied to the one you'd moved .. so then "merged" the one I'd moved into "this" Topic.

Being subscribed to something by someone else, I've no problem understanfing or sympathizing with. It's happened to me in many different ways, some 'accidentally' .. some maliciously, some out of stupidity ...

Some of those subscription were to places that used "best practices" ... sending a confirmation e-mail with sign-up date (IP address, date, etc) which then required some action on my part to validate the subscription. Other outfits of course started the spew as soon as they had the 'new' address in hand.

As far as Yahoo Groups go, I'd have to say that a lot of this has been beat to death in a number of the previous discussions about the BL inclusion of Yahoo Group traffic, some of them pretty massive (search function should have no problem finding these Topics) ... It's up to the Yahoo Group creator / maintainer to configure the Group settings, some don't have a clue, some never learn, some drop out but leave the Group in existence, running in blind auto-pilot mode. This is what allows for the free-for-all in some unmoderated Groups, problems in Moderated Groups where the Moderator isn't on top of things, or worse, a Group created by a spammer using the auto-subscribe function to add targets for the spew.

The "REMOVE in Subject Line" is a 'standard' capability of most major 'List' type software. Yahoo came up with something 'different' .. thus the old 'standards' aren't applicable for this traffic.

Could go on, but .. as above, Yahoo Group stuff has been beat to death before. Bottom line, to answer the otiginal question, at this point, perhaps it's time for a new Yahoo identity, another e-mail aaplication or add-on that would offer better filtering capabilities to help manage the good/bad e-mail, ...???? Tracking down the source of these wrongful subscriptions is difficult if the provider doesn't offer up the data needed to do the reseach, as Steven has already pointed out.

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I have reason to believe that someone is fraudulently "opting" me in, to receive spam. How do I identify this person, and stop it?


Well, that depends on where they are signing you up and how honest the person is running the list. Some mailing list operators will gladly help you, other won't.

I've had that happen a couple of times on lists I maintain. I sometimes get screaming mad people claiming I spammed them because they received a confirmation e-mail. In all cases I e-mail back explaining that the confirmation e-mail was sent to protect them from being signed up without their consent and that they should only receive one unless the person who signed up asked to resend the confirmation e-mail (it's actually an activation e-mail for membership to the website). I also ban them so that it is impossible for someone to sign up that address ever again. If I have an IP address, I also send that to them, letting them know that is who signed them up.

The problem you may find is that not all mailing list operators are honest, not all mailing list software tracks the IP address of the person who signed up, and even if it did, not all mailing list operators would know where to get that information.

Legitimate mailers actually have a vested interest in helping you, although not all of them will or can. If you really think someone is harassing you specifically (i.e. not just spamming you and everyone else, but is maliciously signing you up for newsletters), then you may want to contact some of them and ask to be removed and ask for the IP address of the person who signed you up.

I'm not sure about the Yahoo stuff you just mentioned, but if someone is signing you up to regular mailing lists, then that woud be what you need to do to track them down.

I lnow that I and some other legitimate mailers are more than happy to assist in cases like this.

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