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Reporting spam without opening it


StevenUnderwood

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I would have sworn we have an entry on this, but could not find it. If it does not exist, we should probably write something up, maybe adding it to the "Why has my spam increased" entry. There is one entry there about opening messages "offline" but that was as close as I found.

From a PM:

I recently stumbled across a newspaper column that explained the benefit of reporting spam by forwarding the message in unopened condition. I may have been the only one on the planet unaware of this, but apparently many of the mass spammers are embedding small gifs in the message, allowing the server to be notified when the message is opened, and thereby validating the email address for continued sale & use.
My response was that seasoned reporters are probably aware of this trick but that new reporters and the general public (from my experience) are not. Perhaps a "How to handle spam" entry, almost treating it like a message is infected with a virus?
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http://forum.spamcop.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=3571 for starters?

Premise of that entry was actually something else, but ..... the "right-click" on "subject-line" works with either the "preview panel turned off" or the "working off-line mode" selected ....

The problem with the description offered of just "an embedded gif" is pretty lightweight ....

1. just an embedded gif would only serve to iidentify the IP address of the machine trying to pull it up (which again, the most recent versions of OE (for instance) wouldn't do anyway when set to "read as plain-text only" ....

2. Any HTML encrusted e-mail has the 'capability' to make a call to a server somewhere else to "build" the e-mail so as to display on "your screen" .... remember that spammy is usually interested in "a lot of traffic" in that out-going spew, so embedding a lot of images and such directly into one of these spams would be counterproductive ... better for his/her "marketing" to show the server "hits" from all those idiots handling their e-mail insecurely ...

3. Some above-board advertising e-mail also contain "tracking bits" for various reasons ... is the customer reading the e-mail, is the "pretty picture" bringing in the click-through traffic intended, even tagging that database on "you" or the e-mail run to see which "version" was better received ....

on and on .....

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