Heath's Blog


A NEW way to Report Spam to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission)

This week I have received over 50 emails from lead generating website owners who think they have a new idea.  None of them wants to help Cape Cod Real Estate WebSite.  They only want me to "join" their wonderful, best of, completely the best, new idea.  (This one BIG reason I founded REindex 8 years ago to provide a free place to listing agents/brokers to get THEIR EXISTING website found without lead generation.) 

So I have started forwarding these lead generator emails to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission)as spam.  (You can forward any email you think is spam to the FTC and they'll file it in their spam files. What they do with it after that, I have no idea, but maybe if they get enough about one spammer, they'll go after the spammer.)

But I also had a new idea!  Some of the spam I get has URL links in it that I am supposed to click to see more.  These are often trying to verify that 1) my email is active and 2) that I will click links in emails.

When I hold my mouse over the URL and look into the bottom left corner of my Internet Explorer window, I can see the URL, the link will refer me to.  If it has my email as part of the URL here's what I started doing.

-I open a blank Notepad file to be used temporarily.
-I go to my Email In-box and right click on the suspect spam.
-I choose Properties
-I choose Details
-I choose Message Source
-I scan the Message Source code for the part that includes my email (It usually looks like http ://SpammersDoman.com/ Some other words or letters/my email@ my domain .com)
-I highlight and copy (Ctrl+ C) the part with my email (from the http... to the... .com)
-I switch to the blank Notepad file I opened earlier, and paste (Ctrl+V) the copied URL into the Notepad file twice (one to see the original and one to edit)
-I replace my email info with the FTC email info (replace my email@ my domain .com  with  spam@uce.gov)

-Then I highlight and copy (Ctrl+ C) the whole edited URL with the FTC email in it (not the one with my email in it).
-I go to my browser (I use Internet Explorer) and I Ctrl+O to open a new site (I use Ctrl+O rather than pasting it the address bar.)
-I paste (Ctrl+ V) the edited URL that I copied from the Notepad file, into the open window and hit OK.

This opens the URL, BUT it verifies the FTC email and not mine!  When they send out another email to the list of people who clicked the URL with their email in it, the FTC (instead of me) will get a copy of their spam automatically!  Who knows, it may be a way to report spam as it happens.  Of course, some spammers will edit their lists and remove the FTC emails,  but the more often they have to remove it, the more they will know they are in danger of being found out by the FTC.

Like the little kid said in Angels In The Outfield, "Hey, it could happen!"

(Yes, you can close the Notepad file without saving it.  You don't need it any more today;^)

Heath Coker, Associate Broker
Robert Paul Properties
www.CapeGroup.com / capegroup@capegroup.com
508-274-5613  Licensed in MA
Its a beautiful day on Cape Cod!
@CapeGroup  Skype: heath.coker

REindex.com, The Site Engine®
508-274-5613  reindex@reindex.com
See our 2 Minute YouTube www.REindex.com/WhatIsREindex.html

James Heath Coker | Create Your Badge


interesting,though you may be spamming the stc :P
Posted by Rick Callaham, Spokane Realtor (Team Quintana Real Estate) over 12 years ago

Thanks for sharing your information. I understand your frustration with the spamming. I have had to turn off my email notifications on my phone due to all the spam. I wish I had time to take care of it like you, I just tightened up my spam controls.

Posted by Patrick Lambert, Hawaii Real Estate Expert (ALLY Real Estate) over 12 years ago
Well I would try anything to stop all the spam I get.  I am really tired of it.  Thank you for the tip.
Posted by Lorinda Ward, Serving, Hampton Roads Virginia. Norfolk, Chesapeake, Va Beach (Keffer Realty) over 12 years ago
It does seem like a lot of steps, but if you do it once, it really isn't.  I don't have a lot of time either.  So any way I can help stop the spamming, I try.  If you did one per week, it might help.
Posted by Associate Broker Falmouth MA Cape Cod Heath Coker, Heath Coker Robert Paul Properties Falmouth MA (http://www.CapeGroup.com & http://www.REindex.com) over 12 years ago
Heath,  I will give it a try.  But if the FTC comes down on me I ah going to tell them I got the idea from you. ;-P
Posted by Jimmy McCall, The Ex-Mortgage Consultant (JimmyMcCall.com) over 12 years ago

Thanx, Jimmy.  I think it is not much different from forwarding the spam. Alco, using the URL with their email as the confirmation email should not indicate any of your personal informaion.

Posted by Associate Broker Falmouth MA Cape Cod Heath Coker, Heath Coker Robert Paul Properties Falmouth MA (http://www.CapeGroup.com & http://www.REindex.com) over 12 years ago

Thanks for the useful tips on reporting this spam problem to the FTC.

Posted by MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900, Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years (Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty) about 10 years ago