Reporting Spam Email

You can of course complain in the first instance to the person sending the spam, if you are able to track them down. Spam mail can be reported to the ISP hosting the service/site, and responsible ISPs will normally act quickly to remove the offending site or service.

Be sure you report the right person

Unfortunately, the from address on a spam email is rarely the actual source. Email is a very insecure protocol, and the ‘envelope’ information, (such as the from address) is easily faked. Most spammers will use a fake address, or someone else’s domain name as the from source.

From time to time, I have seen my own domains being flooded by undeliverable mail, in so called ‘Dictionary Attacks’ mostly advertising pharmaceutical products, fake Rolexes, or the latest get rich quick scam, and all because the from address was faked. - The email domain on the header was faked.

A dictionary attack is when a spammer uses software to randomly generate email addresses based on a real domain, so the email appears to be from a legitimate source. The software will randomly generate or guess the first part of an email address and use this as the from address of the domain, i.e.

It is normally the IP address of the sender that reveals the source, not the email address it claims to be from.

Where to report Spam

Services, such as SpamCop maintain a blacklist of known spammers. This enables mail servers to reject mail from known spam sources.

In the US there is legislation covering the sending of SPAM emails, the Federal Trade Commission will direct you to where to report spam emails.

In the UK, more information can be obtained from the Information Commissioners Office